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WHAT DAT? by David Horvath


by David Horvath & illustrated by David Horvath & by Sun-Min Kim & illustrated by Sun-Min Kim

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-375-86434-6
Publisher: Random House

A twisted Richard Scarry–esque outing finds the creators’ “Uglydoll” figures serving in place of all the cute kitties and puppies and piggies.

Aimed at hip graduates of Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (1963) and modeled after same, this visit to the Uglyverse invites readers to pore over big, busy, labeled assemblages of cartoon images while helping blobby Babo do a variety of things. They will search a city streetscape for his one-eyed unicorn, make stops at Ugly Port Harbor and elsewhere, tour a farmer’s market and a factory, then finally explore Babo’s home and neighborhood for such items as an “ebook reader,” a pitcher of “tea with interesting taste” and “pricey 1/6 scale action figures from Hong Kong.” Along with wisecracks in each relatively thematic spread’s introductory paragraph (“What’s a pleasure boat? Anything small that doesn’t sink”), the authors mix conventional descriptive words for common objects and people with a sardonic lexicon of terms both useful (“ATM number pad,” “retro game machine,” “parking enforcement officer”) and less so (“magnetic blender,” “canned moonlight”). Each is placed near a small, simply drawn item or garishly colored monster.

Not the Best Riff on a Children’s Classic Ever, but good for the occasional chuckle. (Picture book. 7-9)