The art gives this southerly outing a distinctive look, and the interplay between the two tourists may strike some readers...

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A TRIP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD WITH MOUSE

Strong graphic illustrations give this quick visit to the Antarctic plenty of appeal, though readers may want to strangle one of the visitors.

Loosely based on the author’s actual voyage, the tour features both large waves and still waters, glimpses of a killer whale and penguins of various identified sorts, and a dip in waters warmed by a half-sunken volcano. It's all in the company of a querulous mouse whose initial “Are we there yet?” and eight-times-repeated “Can we go home now?” inevitably turns to “Can we go back there soon?” by the end. The mouse queries a human traveler who responds to his diminutive companion’s importunate comments with uncommon patience. Using a pale palette and varying the sizes of his sequential panels, Viva (Along a Long Road, one of the New York Times 10 Best Illustrated for 2011) shapes his figures simply with minimal detailing. He effectively creates both visual rhythm and a sense of size for landscapes and spaces with looping white masses of shoreline ice that separate flat monochrome skies from, usually, darker waters.

The art gives this southerly outing a distinctive look, and the interplay between the two tourists may strike some readers as comical. (Graphic easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935179-19-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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OTTO’S ORANGE DAY

Young Otto loves orange so much that when a sly genie rises up out of an old lamp he receives from Aunt Sally Lee, he uses his one wish to turn all the world that color. His ensuing bliss changes to blues, though, after he gets a gander at his orange lunch and then sees what happens on the street when every traffic light is the same color. Cammuso illustrates comics veteran Lynch’s tale in neatly drawn sequential panels, casting Otto as a cat (marmalade, of course) in human dress and pairing him with a blue, distinctly Disneyesque genie. Discovering that said genie hasn’t eaten in 880 years, Otto cleverly calls on the persuasive power of pizza to reverse the wish, and by the end all’s well. Low on violence and high on production values, this comics-format “Toon Book” will leave emergent readers wishing for more. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9799238-2-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities.

BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT

From the Benny and Penny series

It’s bedtime for the mouseling brother and sister—but not before plenty of horsing around and a deliciously scary expedition into the backyard.

As little Penny quietly tries to wash up and pretend-read a story (“One day the princess was sent to her room for being bratty. But she had a secret door…”), her restless big brother interrupts obnoxiously with warnings about the Boogey Mouse, loud belches and other distractions. When Benny realizes that he’s left his prized pirate hat in the backyard, though, Penny braves the Boogey Mouse to follow him out of the window and prod him into reclaiming it from the spooky, dark playhouse. She also “reads” him to sleep after the two race, giggling at their fright, back indoors. Framed in sequential panels that occasionally expand to full-page or double-spread scenes, the art features a pair of big-eared, bright-eyed mites (plus the occasional fictive dinosaur) in cozy domestic settings atmospherically illuminated by the glow of lamps, Benny’s flashlight and the moon. As in this popular series’ earlier episodes, dialogue in unobtrusive balloons furnishes the only text, but the action is easy to follow, and Hayes provides plenty of finely drawn visual cues to the characters’ feelings.

Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935179-20-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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