Photorealistic, vibrantly colored, sometimes-disturbing images tell an amped-up story of sibling jealousy.
Like Max in Where the Wild Things Are, neglected big brother Oliver seeks revenge on his family through an imaginative encounter; he takes as his vehicle three animated fuzzy balls, quaintly named Basil, Cedric and Rasmus, he finds in a box in the attic. Each Tantrum, when thrown hard at his long-suffering mother, transforms itself into a truly scary monster and inflicts near-biblical punishments of flood, food and toys gone mad. Fortunately Mom is tough and can stand up to all this bad treatment. She confronts Oliver’s demons wearing various uniforms—hazmat suit, firefighting gear, full armor. Finally she lowers her sword, opens her visor and explains to him that she loves him and didn’t mean to ignore him. The hyperactive Oliver is somewhat mollified by this, and together, mother and child conquer the dreadful Tantrums by putting the now-harmless balls back in their box. In a hint of things to come, however, little sister Polly is seen discovering the Tantrums for herself. Illustrator Vladimir Todorov’s background in animated movies is clearly evident in the high quality of the airbrushed photographic artwork, which almost seems to pop off the pages. In one particularly memorable image, a monster made of spaghetti leers at Mom with olive eyes and a particularly nasty-looking pepperoni tongue.
Definitely a book aimed at high-energy boys. (Picture book. 3-8)