A tale of funny behavior modification for the kindergarten set.


BetterNot! And the Tale of Bratsville


An eerie purple creature teaches a town of rude children an important lesson in this fantastical children’s book. 

The kids aren’t very nice in a town dubbed Bratsville. They pick their noses, scream and shout, and misbehave in every situation—much to the chagrin of their helpless parents, who can do very little to quell their children’s ridiculous behavior. Nothing, it seems, can get the kids to be polite, conscientious members of society. The book blames sweets or smothering parents as possible sources of the brattiness, but it’s not until a mysterious, swampy purple being called the BetterNot comes to town that the children behave properly. BetterNot teaches every child that his or her behavior has consequences. For instance, Lilly Loudmouth calls people names, so BetterNot, using magical powers, makes sure that she’s transformed into a creature for doing so. Patrick Puncher has a habit of beating on his friends, and BetterNot warns him that he could end up hitting himself in the face. This continues until he expertly deals with all the problem children in town. After he finishes his mission of debratification, Bratsville is renamed Angelsville, as all the kids are now perfectly behaved. Del Vecchio (The Pearl of Anton, 2004) certainly has a grasp on how to engage parents and young readers alike. The book is part fun bedtime story and part cautionary tale and thus serves dual purposes: to delight children with rhyming prose and colorful, engaging illustrations and to dictate to them that certain behaviors aren’t acceptable in society. Such warning statements are a foundational aspect of parenting—how many children have been told not to make a face, lest it stick like that forever?—and this book offers a nice way for parents to get in on the joke while reinforcing their child’s good behavior. (After all, one never knows when BetterNot will be right around the corner.) Fong’s illustrations, meanwhile, are brightly hued and expertly drawn. This funny, thoughtful work may be very helpful for caretakers trying to curb children’s less-than-savory actions.

A tale of funny behavior modification for the kindergarten set.

Pub Date: June 18, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-692-47105-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A killer thriller.


Black takes time out from chronicling the neighborhood-themed exploits of half-French detective Aimée Leduc to introduce a heroine as American as apple pie.

Kate Rees never expected to see Paris again, especially not under these circumstances. Born and bred in rural Oregon, she earned a scholarship to the Sorbonne, where she met Dafydd, a handsome Welshman who stole her heart. The start of World War II finds the couple stationed in the Orkney Islands, where Kate impresses Alfred Stepney of the War Department with the rifle skills she developed helping her dad and five brothers protect the family’s cattle. After unimaginable tragedy strikes, Stepney recruits Kate for a mission that will allow her to channel her newly ignited rage against the Germans who’ve just invaded France. She’s parachuted into the countryside, where her fluent French should help her blend in. Landing in a field, she hops a milk train to Paris, where she plans to shoot Adolf Hitler as he stands on the steps of Sacre-Coeur. Instead, she kills his admiral and has to flee through the streets of Paris, struggling to hook up with the rescuers who are supposed to extract her. Meanwhile, Gunter Hoffman, a career policeman in a wartime assignment with the Reichssicherheitsdienst security forces, is charged with finding the assassin who dared attempt to kill the Führer. It’s hard to see how it can end well for both the cop and the cowgirl. The heroine’s flight is too episodic to capitalize on Black’s skill at character development, but she’s great at raising readers’ blood pressure.

A killer thriller.

Pub Date: April 7, 2020


Page Count: 360

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

Did you like this book?


This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet