While practiced readers may grow tired of the faux bad grammar, kids who prioritize fart jokes over proper diction will hope...

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THE UNBELIEVABLE TOP SECRET DIARY OF PIG

Can Pig and friend Duck best the evil chickens and escape Farmer’s roasting oven?

“Me I is Pig….I live in Pig House….I has only ever been called Pig, so Pig is my name.” Pig writes (in Pig language—good thing we can read that!) in his diary, which he found with a chewed pen in the garbage. At first, Pig loves Farmer because of all of the slops. The chickens are evil because they are mean to Pig and his friends Duck and Cow. Pig loves eating and stinking up the chicken coop and making bubbles in Duck’s pond with his farts. But when Pig discovers Farmer’s plans for him (roasting), Pig agrees to act as pilot in the poo-powered tractor-rocket the chickens have created. The mission goes awry, but Pig and Duck hatch a new plan to rid the farm of evil…however it’s going to take a lot of poo and no small amount of pig farts to enact. Those not initially bothered by Pig’s simple sentences and difficulty with subject-verb agreement will no doubt laugh (a lot) at the goofy, scatological antics. Stamp’s abundant line drawings and the smudgy pages (one can just imagine the slops on them) add to the fun.

While practiced readers may grow tired of the faux bad grammar, kids who prioritize fart jokes over proper diction will hope the sequel hops the pond soon. (Humor. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 28, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-69466-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 10, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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Thought-provoking and charming.

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THE WILD ROBOT

A sophisticated robot—with the capacity to use senses of sight, hearing, and smell—is washed to shore on an island, the only robot survivor of a cargo of 500.

When otters play with her protective packaging, the robot is accidently activated. Roz, though without emotions, is intelligent and versatile. She can observe and learn in service of both her survival and her principle function: to help. Brown links these basic functions to the kind of evolution Roz undergoes as she figures out how to stay dry and intact in her wild environment—not easy, with pine cones and poop dropping from above, stormy weather, and a family of cranky bears. She learns to understand and eventually speak the language of the wild creatures (each species with its different “accent”). An accident leaves her the sole protector of a baby goose, and Roz must ask other creatures for help to shelter and feed the gosling. Roz’s growing connection with her environment is sweetly funny, reminiscent of Randall Jarrell’s The Animal Family. At every moment Roz’s actions seem plausible and logical yet surprisingly full of something like feeling. Robot hunters with guns figure into the climax of the story as the outside world intrudes. While the end to Roz’s benign and wild life is startling and violent, Brown leaves Roz and her companions—and readers—with hope.

Thought-provoking and charming. (Science fiction/fantasy. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 5, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-38199-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2016

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We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face.

THE BAD GUYS

From the Bad Guys series , Vol. 1

Four misunderstood villains endeavor to turn over a new leaf…or a new rap sheet in Blabey's frenzied romp.

As readers open the first page of this early chapter book, Mr. Wolf is right there to greet them, bemoaning his reputation. "Just because I've got BIG POINTY TEETH and RAZOR-SHARP CLAWS and I occasionally like to dress up like an OLD LADY, that doesn't mean… / … I'm a BAD GUY." To prove this very fact, Mr. Wolf enlists three equally slandered friends into the Good Guys Club: Mr. Snake (aka the Chicken Swallower), Mr. Piranha (aka the Butt Biter), and Mr. Shark (aka Jaws). After some convincing from Mr. Wolf, the foursome sets off determined to un-smirch their names (and reluctantly curbing their appetites). Although these predators find that not everyone is ready to be at the receiving end of their helpful efforts, they use all their Bad Guy know-how to manage a few hilarious good deeds. Blabey has hit the proverbial nail on the head, kissed it full on the mouth, and handed it a stick of Acme dynamite. With illustrations that startle in their manic comedy and deadpan direct address and with a narrative that follows four endearingly sardonic characters trying to push past (sometimes successfully) their fear-causing natures, this book instantly joins the classic ranks of Captain Underpants and The Stinky Cheese Man.

We challenge anyone to read this and keep a straight face. (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-91240-2

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2016

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