Noisy fun, with a strong beat and a narrative pattern that even younger audiences will have no trouble catching.

READ REVIEW

DAN, THE TAXI MAN

Dan the cabbie puts pedal to the metal to pick up a rock band and get it to a gig.

Written as a cumulative rhyme, the narrative barrels along just like the classic yellow cab in Culotta’s high-energy cartoon illustrations. Sporting a hip handlebar mustache and goatee and endowed with a personality as big as his seat-filling body, Dan motors through town and country settings like there’s no tomorrow. He picks up Maureen with her tambourine (“Shake-a shake, crash! Shake-a shake, crash!”), Tyrone with his saxophone (“Squeeba-dee dee, squeeba-dee doo!”), and a trio of other musicians in succession. A chorus between each stop invites readers to “Climb inside while you still can / with Dan, Beep! Beep! / the Taxi Man.” At ride’s end the cheery chauffeur pulls up in front of the sold-out Rockin Joint, lets the band out—and then joins the motley lot onstage as lead singer.

Noisy fun, with a strong beat and a narrative pattern that even younger audiences will have no trouble catching. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-072-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968)...

MONSTERS AREN'T REAL

Beaten down by a ubiquitous chorus of denials (see title), a monster suffers an existential crisis.

Surrounded by emphatic claims that it doesn’t even exist, a monster sets out not only to prove the contrary, but to establish its scariness credentials too. Alas, neither blasting the world with graffiti and printed fliers nor rearing up menacingly over a baby in a carriage, children at the barre in a ballet class and other supposedly susceptible victims elicits any response. Juggling some cows attracts attention but not the terrified kind. But the monster’s final despairing surrender—“That’s it! It’s over! I give up! ... /  Monsters aren’t real (sniff)”—triggers an indignant denial of a different sort from a second, smaller but wilder-looking, creature. It takes the first in hand and leads it off, declaring “We’re two big, strong, scary monsters, and we’ll prove it.” In truth, it won’t escape even very young readers that neither is particularly scary-looking. Indeed, the protagonist-monster is depicted in the sparsely detailed cartoon illustrations as a furry, almost cuddly, bearlike hulk with light-blue spots, antlers and comically googly eyes, certain to provoke more giggles than screams.

A lightweight fear-dispeller, without the gun violence that now makes Mercer Mayer’s There’s a Nightmare in My Closet (1968) so discomfiting. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-61067-073-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2012

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Clear text, amusing illustrations, and a captivating easy-to-read story make this a winner for horse-loving emerging readers.

GOOD NIGHT, KNIGHT

From the I Like to Read series

Knight and Horse follow their dreams— literally.

Horse and Knight are exhausted when readers meet them, collapsing upon returning to their castle. But when Knight has a dream of golden cookies, he (or she—readers never see Knight with visor up) wakes the sleepy steed, and they go questing for the treasure. They look everywhere—hollow trees, the bushes, and a pond—only to find the cookies at home in a jar on the kitchen table. The loony plot and the spirited pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations elevate this book above most for emerging readers. Knight’s metal suit, astonishingly, betrays emotions and energy level, whether tired, curious, or energized. (Even the armored feet look tired.) Watching Knight sleep with tush in the air will certainly elicit giggles from the youngest readers. Horse, too, is metal-clad, but its armor does not cover its skeptical eyes, allowing readers to laugh along while the near-asleep rider falls out of the saddle. Clear, readable typeface and familiar sight words are the order of the day. Repeated words (especially “good,” “night,” “horse,” “knight,” and “sleep”) punctuate the humorous story, making it easy to decode. When Horse has a dream of its own at the end, smiling readers will have no choice but to wonder where the pair are off to now.

Clear text, amusing illustrations, and a captivating easy-to-read story make this a winner for horse-loving emerging readers. (Early reader. 4-6)

Pub Date: May 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3206-6

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

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