A bracing burst of joie de vivre, ideal for any rude, nude, naked brood.


This Australian import features two imps who take a particular pleasure in gamboling about sans covering.

From the title page, where a brother and his older sister fling off their clothes, to the “splishing, splashing, sploshing” of a bath, Quay captures the delight her two heroes feel when down to their birthday suits. Almost immediately, the two dry off and zoom through the house. Gently rhyming text chronicles their sensory adventures as they enjoy the soft rug, the spiky doormat and the dangling fronds of a backyard willow. Their capers concluded, the two return to the loving embrace of their mama “for a cuddle, kiss and hug and squeeze and hold.” Some American readers may try in vain to parse the linguistic logic behind the term “rudie nudie,” a phrase that seems to refer to both juvenile streakers at once. Others (probably grown-ups) may be uncomfortable with the pair’s unapologetic embrace of their nude states. Yet for many children, Quay’s paean to running about in your altogethers will prove irresistible. The accompanying art, calculatedly devoid of penises, done in pencil, paper and Photoshop, charms. More importantly, it clarifies that the book celebrates a childhood experience, separate from the parental gaze.

A bracing burst of joie de vivre, ideal for any rude, nude, naked brood. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7333-2335-5

Page Count: 24

Publisher: HarperCollins 360

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart.


New England Patriot and literacy advocate Mitchell proves to have a touch of magic as an author as well as on the field.

It’s Family Fun Day at the library, and families of many sizes, constellations, and skin tones are participating. Amid book scavenger hunts and storytelling, a magician arrives. He is white and lanky, sporting a purple polka-dot vest and a bright yellow ascot. But most importantly, he has a very large, mysterious hat. He tells the children how he came to Family Fun Day when he was younger and read his very first book about magic in the library. Turning the pages and getting lost in the words inspired him to become a magician. He realized that it wasn’t just about spells and potions, but that books themselves are magical. Three children reach into the hat and find books about their future professions—Amy, a white girl, is a dentist; Matt, a bespectacled black boy, is a football player; and Ryan, a white boy, is an astronaut. The magician then turns the hat to readers, asking, “What are your dreams?” Previously self-published, the work gets a new look from Lew-Vriethoff’s bustling library and bright swirls of magic and bookish motivation. As an entry in the books-are-awesome genre, it’s mostly distinguished by the author’s clear belief in his message.

Perhaps youngsters who think they are more interested in football than reading will take the message to heart. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-11454-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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