OTTO'S BACKWARDS DAY

A snappy follow-up to Otto’s Orange Day (2008), gift-wrapped around a worthy theme and frosted with tasty wordplay.

A quick trip to the “backwards world” straightens out Otto the cat’s priorities as well as his spelling.

Having blithely announced that birthdays are more about cake, ice cream, balloons and, especially, gifts than family and friends, Otto is understandably peeved when all his party trappings are stolen. Following the thief through a gateway dubbed “the Palindrome” leads Otto to a cube-shaped world. There, garbage is dropped on the ground rather than in cans, and clothes are reversed (“Maybe next time you’ll listen to your mom and wear clean underwear,” snarks companion robot Toot). An adventuresome chase leads to the lair of Evil Olive—a tubby, green gent in the bright, cleanly drawn cartoon illustrations, topped with a red fez in place of a pimiento. Strewn with palindromes and reversed words that even emergent readers will have no trouble decoding, the miniodyssey leaves Otto in the right place: back home, partying with newly appreciated friends and family until latest invitee Evil Olive arrives with the stolen goodies.

A snappy follow-up to Otto’s Orange Day (2008), gift-wrapped around a worthy theme and frosted with tasty wordplay. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-9351-7933-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

FROG AND BALL

From the I Like To Read Comics series

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages.

Never underestimate the chaotic fun that magic and an angry bouncing ball can create.

When Frog goes to the library, he borrows a book on magic. He then heads to a nearby park to read up on the skills necessary to becoming “a great magician.” Suddenly, a deflated yellow ball lands with a “Thud!” at his feet. Although he flexes his new magician muscles, Frog’s spells fall as flat as the ball. But when Frog shouts “Phooey!” and kicks the ball away, it inflates to become a big, angry ball. The ball begins to chase Frog, so he seeks shelter in the library—and Frog and ball turn the library’s usual calm into chaos. The cartoon chase crescendos. The ball bounces into the middle of a game of chess, interrupts a puppet show, and crashes into walls and bookcases. Staying just one bounce ahead, Frog runs, hides, grabs a ride on a book cart, and scatters books and papers as he slides across the library furniture before an alligator patron catches the ball and kicks it out the library door. But that’s not the end of the ball….Caple’s tidy panels and pastel-hued cartoons make a surprisingly effective setting for the slapstick, which should have young readers giggling. Simple sentences—often just subject and verb—with lots of repetition propel the action. Frog’s nonsense-word spells (“Poof Wiffle, Bop Bip!”) are both funny and excellent practice in phonetics. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4341-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD!

From the Tater Tales series , Vol. 1

This tater trio, and worm, will keep readers laughing, singing, and cheering from the first page to the last.

One grumbly day, two mutant tater brothers vie to determine who is the greatest in the world.

It’s goofy-looking Rot Poe Tater, with an awesome unibrow and “surprisingly sturdy stick legs,” versus big brother Snot, a sleepy, upset couch potato with bedhead. Tot, their “usually super chipper” little sister, acts as the judge. The first challenge, a potato sack race with shades of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” ends in a tie. The second contest is Hot Potato Hill, where the brothers must roll down a hill after Tot. No one wins, and the third contest is a laugh-off. Rot declares he’s laughing so hard that he needs to pee his pants but then remembers he doesn’t wear pants. When Rot and Snot are laughed out, Tot is still giggling. That’s when the plot twists and twists again. The text, primarily boastful speech-bubble banter between Rot and Snot, also contains songs, cheers from an enthusiastic worm, and fun wordplay, including alliterative places names like Barrel Bottom Bog and the Moldy Mounds. Text in a smaller typeface alternates with graphic panels, keeping the action moving. Expressive potato faces make the action and emotions clear. Fans of the picture book Rot: The Cutest in the World (2016) will enjoy seeing the protagonist again; Clanton relies on the same simple yet expressive cartoon illustrations and humor.

This tater trio, and worm, will keep readers laughing, singing, and cheering from the first page to the last. (pictures of other taters who have excelled in the Hot Potato Hill challenge, facts about potatoes, lesson on how to draw Rot) (Graphic novel. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9318-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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