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Strictly for cheap laffs.

What the beginning of the universe, the Mona Lisa’s smile, and certain other epochal touchstones in between have in common.

Pandering again to audiences that can’t get enough of certain words—or in this case sound effects—often enough, the creators of Whose Poo? (2021) string together a series of events linked, in Coppo’s elementally simple gouache frames, by small green clouds emerging from one butt or another with disproportionate consequences. A family of mice sits down to watch a “very serious” documentary. “Best show ever!” squees a child to a discomfited parent as the first “PFFFT!” bursts into stars and galaxies, the next one from a tiny primordial fish drives animals out onto dry land, another from a volcano leads to the downfall of the dinosaurs (“Dad, is that why it’s called exSTINKtion?”), and later putts end an ice age, cause the Sphinx’s nose to fall off, knock the apples off Isaac Newton’s tree, and other watershed events. Critics might carp that the fumes sending a diversely hued crew of Vikings fleeing to North America come from a whale’s blowhole…but any port (so to speak) in a storm, and it’s not like accuracy is a priority here. Dad as usual becomes the (wait for it) butt of the joke as he produces the biggest PFFFT! of all while indignantly reaching for the remote’s off switch. Why dads should be unamused by this breezy revisionist history is anybody’s guess. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Strictly for cheap laffs. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 2023

ISBN: 9780735268012

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2023

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Echoes of Runaway Bunny color this exchange between a bath-averse piglet and his patient mother. Using a strategy that would probably be a nonstarter in real life, the mother deflects her stubborn offspring’s string of bath-free occupational conceits with appeals to reason: “Pirates NEVER EVER take baths!” “Pirates don’t get seasick either. But you do.” “Yeesh. I’m an astronaut, okay?” “Well, it is hard to bathe in zero gravity. It’s hard to poop and pee in zero gravity too!” And so on, until Mom’s enticing promise of treasure in the deep sea persuades her little Treasure Hunter to take a dive. Chunky figures surrounded by lots of bright white space in Segal’s minimally detailed watercolors keep the visuals as simple as the plotline. The language isn’t quite as basic, though, and as it rendered entirely in dialogue—Mother Pig’s lines are italicized—adult readers will have to work hard at their vocal characterizations for it to make any sense. Moreover, younger audiences (any audiences, come to that) may wonder what the piggy’s watery closing “EUREKA!!!” is all about too. Not particularly persuasive, but this might coax a few young porkers to get their trotters into the tub. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-25425-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2011

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Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a...

Reynolds returns to a favorite topic—creative self-expression—with characteristic skill in a companion title to The Dot (2003) and Ish (2004).

Marisol is “an artist through and through. So when her teacher told her class they were going to paint a mural…, Marisol couldn’t wait to begin.” As each classmate claims a part of the picture to paint, Marisol declares she will “paint the sky.” But she soon discovers there is no blue paint and wonders what she will do without the vital color. Up to this point, the author uses color sparingly—to accent a poster or painting of Marisol’s or to highlight the paint jars on a desk. During her bus ride home, Marisol wonders what to do and stares out the window. The next spread reveals a vibrant departure from the gray tones of the previous pages. Reds, oranges, lemon yellows and golds streak across the sunset sky. Marisol notices the sky continuing to change in a rainbow of colors…except blue. After awakening from a colorful dream to a gray rainy day, Marisol smiles. With a fervent mixing of paints, she creates a beautiful swirling sky that she describes as “sky color.” Fans of Reynolds will enjoy the succinct language enhanced by illustrations in pen, ink, watercolor, gouache and tea.

Share this feel-good title with those who love art and those who can appreciate the confidence-building triumph of solving a problem on one’s own—creatively. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-2345-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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