Larded with earnest purpose but unconvincing and far from likely to be the first call for attention to America’s weight...

EDDIE SHAPES UP

With a message-driven tale of a plump lad who turns over a new leaf, an ex-mayor of New York and his sister clobber readers with the Board of Education.

To judge from the contemporary dress of the figures in Hoefer’s inexpert illustrations, this isn’t intended to be autobiographical despite the main character’s name—though a breezy admission in the closing lecture that the co-authors were both "chubby" children does creates a certain resonance. Round as the apple he discards from his lunch every day, young Eddie chows down on fatty foods and avoids playground games for fear of embarrassment—until a friend tells him that he’s “a little heavy and out of shape. Maybe it’s because of the way you eat.” The next day Eddie begins asking his mom for healthier breakfasts than bagels with butter and also heads for the park to jog. A “few weeks” later he’s nimble enough to chase down a runaway baby carriage, hold his own in a playground dodgeball game and even join the school’s soccer team. Despite a seemingly simple program—eat less, cut down on the cookies, exercise regularly—will Eddie’s example prompt similar sudden epiphanies in rotund readers? Fat chance.

Larded with earnest purpose but unconvincing and far from likely to be the first call for attention to America’s weight problem that children or parents will encounter. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-60478-378-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Zagat

Review Posted Online: Aug. 3, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2011

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Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch...

THERE WAS AN OLD MERMAID WHO SWALLOWED A SHARK!

Having eaten pretty much everything on land in 13 previous versions of the classic song, Colandro’s capaciously stomached oldster goes to sea.

Once again the original cumulative rhyme’s naturalistic aspects are dispensed with, so that not only doesn’t the old lady die, but neither do any of the creatures she consumes. Instead, the titular shark “left no mark,” a squid follows down the hatch to “float with the shark,” a fish to “dance with the squid,” an eel to “brighten the fish” (with “fluorescent light!” as a subsequent line explains), and so on—until at the end it’s revealed to be all pretending anyway on a visit to an aquarium. Likewise, though Lee outfits the bespectacled binge-eater with a finny tail and the requisite bra for most of the extended episode, she regains human feet and garb at the end. In the illustrations, the old lady and one of the two children who accompany her are pink-skinned; the other has frizzy hair and an amber complexion. A set of nature notes on the featured victims and a nautical seek-and-find that will send viewers back to the earlier pictures modestly enhance this latest iteration.

Series fans won’t be disappointed, but young readers and listeners who know only the original ditty may find this a touch bland. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-12993-9

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2017

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Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones.

BOA CONSTRUCTOR

From the The Binder of Doom series , Vol. 2

In the second installment of the Binder of Doom series, readers will reconnect with Alexander Bopp, who leads the Super Secret Monster Patrol, a group of mutant children who protect the citizens of their beloved town of Stermont.

His friends Nikki and Rip rejoin him to add new monsters and adventures to their ever growing binder of monsters. As in series opener Brute-Cake (2019), Alexander and his friends attend the local library’s summer program, this time for “maker-camp.” They are assigned a Maker Challenge, in which each camper is to “make a machine that performs a helpful task”; meanwhile, mechanical equipment is being stolen all over Stermont. Unfortunately, the pacing and focus of the book hop all over the place. The titular boa constructor (a two-headed maker-minded snake and the culprit behind the thefts) is but one of many monsters introduced here, appearing more than two-thirds of the way through the story—just after the Machine Share-Time concludes the maker-camp plotline. (Rip’s “most dangerous” invention does come in handy at the climax.) The grayscale illustrations add visuals that will keep early readers engaged despite the erratic storyline; they depict Alexander with dark skin and puffy hair and Nikki and Rip with light skin. Monster trading cards are interleaved with the story.

Returning fans will be happy to see their friends, but this outing's unlikely to win them new ones. (Paranormal adventure. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-31469-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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