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

READ REVIEW

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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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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No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein...

SPIDER SANDWICHES

Freedman climbs aboard an already overcrowded bandwagon with this catalog of gross-out goodies in Max the monster’s larder.

With characteristic disregard for exact rhymes or rhythm, the author lays out arrays of stomach-churning delicacies, from the titular sandwiches to “toenail scrambled eggs” and pickled worms: “He LOVES to glug slug milkshakes, / through a stinky hosepipe straw. / And as for beetle cookies— / he can ALWAYS munch one more!” In illustrations teeming with creepy crawlies, unidentifiable globs and grocery items like “Mice Krispies,” Max, a hairball tinted yellow-green and equipped with bicycle-horn ears, chows down with googly-eyed exuberance—until a final dish of Brussels sprouts sends him (as it does so many readers) shrieking from the room.

No more than a side dish next to the appetite-killing courses dished out by Shel Silverstein, by Adam Rex in Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich (2006) and by so many others. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-6196-3364-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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