A novel hero and a novel way to introduce a new generation to an old saying.

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MR. NOGGINBODY GETS A HAMMER

Mr. Nogginbody learns that no matter how nail-shaped a problem may appear, a hammer isn’t always the solution.

Starring in this absurdist adaptation of the adage about hammer and nails is daft Mr. Nogginbody. Proud of his initial success hammering a nail into his floor, Mr. Nogginbody decides to similarly remedy more problems, comically whacking naillike objects—showerheads, flowers, and (thankfully speedy) prairie dogs. After taking careful aim at a fly but hitting his own hat, he is struck with the epiphany that “not everything is a nail” and sweetly begins making amends, beginning with a new tool—a watering can to tend the flowers he crushed. Both the eponymous star of Shannon’s earlier David books and Mr. Nogginbody are kindhearted despite their predilection for chaos, and they exude a certain manic energy through their eccentric looks. Mr. Nogginbody appears to be a giant, egg-shaped head but is proportioned as though he were typically human: A tie is his nose, his arms swing askew, and a hat sits jauntily, if jarringly, just where the lapels of his shirt meet. Shannon’s signature breezy lines, keen sense of when to zoom in on a face or emphasize a zany moment, swaths of bright color among mostly black-and-white sketches, and casually uneven, hand-lettering keep it looking and feeling bright.

A novel hero and a novel way to introduce a new generation to an old saying. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-324-00344-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Fun, fun, fun all through the town!

THE HIPS ON THE DRAG QUEEN GO SWISH, SWISH, SWISH

This book’s gonna werk, werk, werk all through Pride Month and beyond.

Drag persona Lil Miss Hot Mess rewrites “The Wheels on the Bus” to create a fun, movement-filled, family-friendly celebration of drag. The text opens with the titular verse to establish the familiar song’s formulaic pattern: “The hips on the drag queen go SWISH, SWISH, SWISH… / ALL THROUGH THE TOWN!” Along the way, more and more drag queens join in the celebration. The unnamed queens proudly display a range of skin tones, sizes, and body modifications to create a diverse cast of realistic characters that could easily be spotted at a Pride event or on RuPaul’s Drag Race. The palette of both costumes and backgrounds is appropriately psychedelic, and there are plenty of jewels going “BLING, BLING, BLING.” Don’t tell the queens, but the flow is the book’s real star, because it encourages natural kinetic participation that will have groups of young readers giggling and miming along with the story. Libraries and bookshops hosting drag-queen storytimes will find this a popular choice, and those celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage will also find this a useful book for the pre-K crowd. Curious children unfamiliar with a drag queen may require a brief explanation, but the spectacle stands up just fine on its own platforms.

Fun, fun, fun all through the town! (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7624-6765-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Running Press Kids

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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