SKUNKS!

Master of revulsion Greenberg (Bugs, not reviewed, etc.) takes on skunks, to the merriment of his audience. "The stunkiest stank ever to stink / The stankiest stink to stunk / Far worse than a moldy garbage can / When you reach down and scoop out the gunk." Yes, the unforgettable stink of a skunk. Munsinger (Tacky and the Emperor, 2000, etc.) traipses right along behind Greenberg, following his every move, sharply animating her characters. Her colors are muted to the point of appearing washed out, so it takes the facial expressions and the comic scenarios to carry the page. Note particularly the double-paged spread of a wedding scene filled with skunk guests, a bed made completely of piles of the fuzzies, or the slapstick squirrel that's been zapped. Greenberg's scuzzy humor, on the other hand, never flags: "But the stink of a skunk / I always have thunk / Is more than a sweet bouquet / There are numerous other things (that a punk) / Can do with the heavenly spray." And he goes on to enumerate them in great detail and at the expense of sounding like a one-note song. There are times that his inventiveness fails him—“Skunks make superior sprinklers / For watering your grass" and "A hovercraft of squirting skunks / Take it for a ride" are particularly desperate—yet mostly Greenberg manages to make the fragrant nightlifer an object of mirth and high-spirited language. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-316-32606-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2001

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MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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CHATO'S KITCHEN

Chato and Novio Boy, low-riding East Los Angeles homeboys of the feline variety, have dinner guests. The invitees, a family of five fat mice who just moved in next door, haven't an inkling that they are the intended main course. But when the mice bring along their friend Chorizo (a worldly mutt in a slouch beret) to share the grub, he thwarts the cats' connivings. This unlikely three- species chow-down is a sweet salute to Spanish cooking, with fajitas, frijoles, and quesadillas sharing center stage. Soto delivers a spare, clever text; the words skip like stones across water—``His tail began to swing to the rhythm. He felt the twinge of mambo in his hips.'' Guevara's swarming, luxuriant illustrations give the atmosphere palpability, with brushstrokes so fresh readers will want to stick their fingers in the paint to feel its texture. Menace hangs in the air; the artist mixes the sinisterness of R. Crumb with moments of Edvard Munch terror, yet it seems likely from the outset that the mice are more than capable of looking after themselves. Incidental touches—little devils and angels darting about, a bird wedding glimpsed through a window—are there for the sharp-eyed. Smart, with a nice edge. Soto's inspired finger-snapping prose has found an equally imaginative comrade in Guevara's colorful urban paintings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-22658-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 1995

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