It’s not particularly deep, but it’s got enough sight gags to be entertaining.



Wielding a giant pencil, Paws McDraw is “the fastest doodler in the west.”

In a colorful cartoon-style parody of an Old West town, Paws (apparently a large rodent—perhaps a prairie dog) regales a host of bunnies, who gather round to hear his stories of how he saves the day by drawing his way out of trouble. Rather like Harold with his purple crayon, Brecon’s character can amend reality with a stroke of his pencil: he can draw tracks across a break to save a train from plummeting from a bridge and create firefighters out of thin air to save a burning orphanage. His masterstroke is to rescue Timmy rabbit from the well by dint of a swiftly drawn bucket. The whole town celebrates with a cupcake festival—but not so fast! The Rascally Raccoon Gang rides into town, heck-bent on spoiling their fun. In time-honored tradition, after several misfires, Paws creates a magician out of the baker rabbit, who turns the villains into cupcakes. The punchline is inevitable: “Those raccoons got their just desserts!” sniggers Paws smugly. The whole conceit depends on readers’ understanding the Old West tropes, but if they do, it may tickle some funny bones.

It’s not particularly deep, but it’s got enough sight gags to be entertaining. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68010-035-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: July 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2016

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Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun.


From the Clothesline Clues series

Heling and Hembrook’s clever conceit challenges children to analyze a small town’s clotheslines to guess the job each of their owners does. 

Close-up on the clothesline: “Uniform and cap, / an invite for you. / Big bag of letters. / What job does she do?” A turn of the page reveals a macro view of the home, van and the woman doing her job, “She is a mail carrier.” Indeed, she can be spotted throughout the book delivering invitations to all the rest of the characters, who gather at the end for a “Launch Party.” The verses’ rhymes are spot-on, though the rhythm falters a couple of times. The authors nicely mix up the gender stereotypes often associated with several of these occupations, making the carpenter, firefighter and astronaut women. But while Davies keeps uniforms and props pretty neutral (he even avoids U.S. mail symbols), he keeps to the stereotypes that allow young readers to easily identify occupations—the farmer chews on a stalk of wheat; the beret-wearing artist sports a curly mustache. A subdued palette and plain white backgrounds keep kids’ focus on the clothing clues. Still, there are plenty of details to absorb—the cat with arched back that anticipates a spray of water, the firefighter who “lights” the rocket.

Pair this with Leo Timmers’ Who Is Driving? (2007) for twice the guessing fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-58089-251-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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