A collection that may elicit a few giggles, and its illustrations may draw a more reluctant crowd.

IF THE EARTH IS ROUND

BEGINNER: VOLUME 1

Comedy is at the center of this rhyming poetry collection from Fleishman with cartoon illustrations by Harston (The Old Testament Sticker Puzzle, 2017, etc.).

Fleishman’s 21 poems for young independent readers have easy-to-grasp vocabulary and plenty of rhymes. Early verses involve a wide variety of topics, such as a ghost who only fits in on Halloween, a boy who carts his piano up 53 flights of stairs for music lessons, and The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale’s farmhouse for sale (complete with dead witch). A standout is “Baby Piper,” in which a child smells something funny and agrees to help change the baby, so long as he doesn’t have to “wipe.” Others are less humorous, such as “Lucky Girl,” in which a gross-out character looks forward to having a wife, and the title poem, which questions the shape of the earth. The tone is reminiscent of classic poet Shel Silverstein’s, but the humor never quite reaches the same level, and some turns of phrase (such as “It eats food of other teddy bears”) read awkwardly. Harston’s boldly colored illustrations, which feature diverse children, add intriguing details, revealing a dangerous staircase in one poem and a roller coaster hazard in another.

A collection that may elicit a few giggles, and its illustrations may draw a more reluctant crowd.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2017

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Mindstir Media

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2017

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HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS!

Another Seuss-chimera joins the ranks of the unforgettable Herlar and with the advent of the Grinch— a sort of Yule Ghoul who lives in a cave just north of who-ville. While all the Who's made ready on Christmas Eve the Grinch donned a Santa-Claus disguise. In gurgling verse at a galloping gait, we learn how the Grinch stole the "presents, the ribbons, the wrappings, the tags, the tinsel and trappings," from all the Who's. But the Grinch's heart (two sizes too small) melted just in time when he realized that the Who's enjoyed Christmas without any externals. Youngsters will be in transports over the goofy gaiety of Dr. Seuss's first book about a villain — easily the best Christmas-cad since Scrooge. Inimitable Seuss illustrations of the Grinch's dog Max disguised as a reindeer are in black and white with touches of red. Irrepressible and irresistible.

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 1957

ISBN: 0394800796

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1957

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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