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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Still, a triumphant sally in the long-running war against closet and other domestic monsters, with these mildly scary...

AVA THE MONSTER SLAYER

Come bedtime, Ava is dismayed to discover that Mom has left her Piggy in the dryer…in the basement…where the monsters are.

Mom is answering the phone, Daddy is out in the garage, and big brother (the one who told her all about the monsters in the first place) is naturally unhelpful, so Ava pushes up her glasses, screws her courage to the sticking place, and sets off to the rescue. It’s not a quiet expedition, as Ava has several monsters to frighten off before she even gets to the basement door, and once down the dark stairs, she finds Piggy in the clutches of not one but two big, green horrors. Along with oversized screeches and repeated exclamations of “OH NO!” to highlight the all-caps narrative, Felten scratches out a fierce young heroine in heavy-framed specs and heart pajamas, brandishing a homemade wooden sword and recklessly charging a succession of grimacing ghouls to reclaim her beloved plushy. The illustrator is a little cavalier with details—a basement monster licking its lips while holding Piggy “in his yucky hand” has neither lips nor hands in the picture. Also, the pink boots and sparkly crown that Ava pauses to don may be overdoing the girly bit.

Still, a triumphant sally in the long-running war against closet and other domestic monsters, with these mildly scary monsters not slain but thoroughly routed. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-63450-151-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sky Pony Press

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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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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