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IN THE SWIM

Florian makes funny the characteristics and habits of a collection of sea life in his follow-up to Beast Feast (1994) and On the Wing (1996). From a flying fish to a jellyfish, a ray to a manatee, each underwater creature is individually featured in a short quip-of-a-poem: ``Did you know the ocean's oysters/ Sometimes change from girls to boysters?'' and ``The itty-bitty, pretty tetra/Is small, minute, petite, et cetra.'' The witty poems, deliberately anthropomorphic, employ mistaken identities and mix-ups, as well as punning, wordplay, and internal rhyme, all to humorous effect. Many of the poems toy with an aspect of the subject, as in ``The Salmon,'' where the text swims upstream, reading from bottom to top, or ``The Sawfish,'' in which the lines are arranged in jagged-tooth formation. Paired with every poem is a striking watery painting saturated with color, splashes of humor aimed at grade-schoolers, and imagination. (Picture book/poetry. 8-11)

Pub Date: March 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-15-201307-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1997

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THE FIRST CAT IN SPACE ATE PIZZA

From the First Cat in Space series , Vol. 1

Epic lunacy.

Will extragalactic rats eat the moon?

Can a cybernetic toenail clipper find a worthy purpose in the vast universe? Will the first feline astronaut ever get a slice of pizza? Read on. Reworked from the Live Cartoon series of homespun video shorts released on Instagram in 2020 but retaining that “we’re making this up as we go” quality, the episodic tale begins with the electrifying discovery that our moon is being nibbled away. Off blast one strong, silent, furry hero—“Meow”—and a stowaway robot to our nearest celestial neighbor to hook up with the imperious Queen of the Moon and head toward the dark side, past challenges from pirates on the Sea of Tranquility and a sphinx with a riddle (“It weighs a ton, but floats on air. / It’s bald but has a lot of hair.” The answer? “Meow”). They endure multiple close but frustratingly glancing encounters with pizza and finally deliver the malign, multiheaded Rat King and its toothy armies to a suitable fate. Cue the massive pizza party! Aside from one pirate captain and a general back on Earth, the human and humanoid cast in Harris’ loosely drawn cartoon panels, from the appropriately moon-faced queen on, is light skinned. Merch, music, and the original episodes are available on an associated website.

Epic lunacy. (Graphic science fiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 10, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-308408-7

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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LADY LOLLIPOP

The author of Babe, the Gallant Pig (1985) offers another winner with this tale of a bright pig and her canny young keeper “training” a spoiled princess. When Princess Penelope demands a pig for her eighth birthday, her over-indulgent father requires every pig keeper in the country to assemble with a likely porcine candidate. The princess settles on Lollipop, who turns out to be the sole possession of penniless orphan Johnny Skinner. As only Johnny can get Lollipop to sit, roll over, or poop outdoors, soon lad and pig are comfortably ensconced together in a royal stall—at least until the pig can be persuaded to respond to the Princess’s commands. It’s only the beginning of a meteoric rise for Johnny, and for Lollipop too, as the two conspire to teach the princess civilized manners, and end up great favorites of the entire royal family. Barton (Rattletrap Car, p. 504, etc.) captures Penelope’s fuming, bratty character perfectly in a generous array of line drawings, and gives Lollipop an expression of affectionate amusement that will win over readers as effortlessly as it wins over the princess and her parents. Move over, Wilbur. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7636-1269-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2001

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