Noodlehead stories are perennially entertaining, but better collections exist.

THE GOTHAMITES

Wise men become fools to escape excessive demands in this Estonian import.

The male Gothamites of Turkeyland, renowned for their wisdom, travel extensively, advising foreign heads of state—while their homeland, run by the womenfolk, falls into chaos. The desperate women plead for them to return, and upon doing so, the men decide that they must behave stupidly so their services will no longer be desired outside of Turkeyland. Ten short stories follow in the best noodlehead folklore tradition: A group of fools with tangled legs cannot get up because they don’t know which feet are theirs; another one attempts to catch light in a sack. The richly colored, Brueghel-like illustrations feature intricate, comical scenes of the Gothamites in all their splendid incompetence (and cheekily tuck in a hammer and sickle). In keeping with the sexism of the text, the big-bosomed and -bottomed women are clad in slip dresses even in the dead of winter; the men are modestly attired. Turkeyland seems to be Northern European, and all characters appear white apart from one black boy wearing a sweatsuit. The lengthy text and small-scale illustrations make this suitable for independent reading or one-on-one sharing. It may appeal to readers who enjoy the absurd and the slapstick, although many stories feel too long, diluting the impact of the humor—the printing of page numbers upside down underscores the loopiness.

Noodlehead stories are perennially entertaining, but better collections exist. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939810-28-1

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Elsewhere Editions

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the...

CHARLIE BUMPERS VS. THE TEACHER OF THE YEAR

From the Charlie Bumpers series , Vol. 1

Charlie Bumpers is doomed. The one teacher he never wanted in the whole school turns out to be his fourth-grade teacher.

Charlie recalls third grade, when he accidentally hit the scariest teacher in the whole school with his sneaker. “I know all about you, Charlie Bumpers,” she says menacingly on the first day of fourth grade. Now, in addition to all the hardships of starting school, he has gotten off on the wrong foot with her. Charlie’s dry and dramatic narrative voice clearly reveals the inner life of a 9-year-old—the glass is always half empty, especially in light of a series of well-intentioned events gone awry. It’s quite a litany: “Hitting Mrs. Burke in the head with the sneaker. The messy desk. The swinging on the door. The toilet paper. And now this—the shoe on the roof.” Harley has teamed once again with illustrator Gustavson (Lost and Found, 2012) to create a real-life world in which a likable kid must face the everyday terrors of childhood: enormous bullies, looming teachers and thick gym coaches with huge pointing fingers. Into this series opener, Harley magically weaves the simple lesson that people, even teachers, can surprise you.

Readers will be waiting to see how Charlie faces his next challenge in a series that marks a lovely change of pace from the sarcasm of Wimpy Kid. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-56145-732-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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Funny and provocative.

TALLULAH THE TOOTH FAIRY CEO

A tooth-fairy mogul wrote the manual, but even the expert can be caught off guard.

Tallulah, CEO of Teeth Titans Inc., gives readers a sneak peek into her glamorous life. The wry narrative mimics the tone of many an inspirational biography, informing readers that Tallulah works hard to strike “a healthy balance between the three Ps: passion, purpose, and what pays.” From yoga to museum visits, Tallulah seems to have a full schedule, but she still makes time to hire and train tooth fairies for the entire world. Expert Tallulah has all the answers—or so she thinks until the night she gets a surprise from a little boy. Ballard has lost his tooth—literally—and leaves an explanatory note under his pillow in place of the missing item. This triggers an emergency board meeting that features remarkably realistic dialogue. Tom, a white man and the only board member who is not a woman of color, wears an #AllFairiesMatter T-shirt; his off-topic complaint about the lack of diversity makes an opening for important conversations with young readers. Tallulah is black and sports a voluminous purple Afro; Tom is the sole white character. Details in both Pizzoli’s text (Tallulah’s also the founder of the National Association for the Appreciation and Care of Primary Teeth, or NAACP-T) and Fabiani’s matte illustrations (a series of enormous, Warhol-like prints of Tallulah adorns her walls) will set adult readers chuckling.

Funny and provocative. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 30, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-374-30919-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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