THE WORST BAND IN THE UNIVERSE

Steven Spielberg meets Lewis Carroll via Jimmy Page in this latest opus from the irrepressible Base (The Discovery of Dragons, 1998, etc.). Young Sprocc from the planet Blipp can’t help himself; he takes up his Splingtwanger, turns the volume up to ten and plays a new tune, even though it is forbidden. For this he’s banished, and hooks up with a underground group competing in the Worst Band contest. They win, but it’s a trick, and they are sent to Wastedump B19 where the great PowerAxe wielder Skat, bitter and cynical, resides. They escape on a music-powered spacecraft, save Blipp from destruction and free the music (with Skat’s help). The story is told in the most amazing verse, complete with descriptions of a bad guy “grobulous with rage,” and a place where “All reggoid beats prohibited. No rok, no phfunk, no jyve.” Base’s extraordinary sense of detail and his riot of color are taken to a new dimension here, in almost indescribable scenes of SF mayhem. He thoughtfully includes not only a list of characters but a CD of the music. Reading this one aloud may lead to riotous story hours. (Picture book. 6-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8109-3998-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1999

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THE COLORS OF US

This vibrant, thoughtful book from Katz (Over the Moon, 1997) continues her tribute to her adopted daughter, Lena, born in Guatemala. Lena is “seven. I am the color of cinnamon. Mom says she could eat me up”; she learns during a painting lesson that to get the color brown, she will have to “mix red, yellow, black, and white paints.” They go for a walk to observe the many shades of brown: they see Sonia, who is the color of creamy peanut butter; Isabella, who is chocolate brown; Lucy, both peachy and tan; Jo-Jin, the color of honey; Kyle, “like leaves in fall”; Mr. Pellegrino, the color of pizza crust, golden brown. Lena realizes that every shade is beautiful, then mixes her paints accordingly for portraits of her friends—“The colors of us!” Bold illustrations celebrate diversity with a child’s open-hearted sensibility and a mother’s love. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8050-5864-8

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1999

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LAUGH-ETERIA

Florian’s seventh collection of verse is also his most uneven; though the flair for clever rhyme that consistently lights up his other books, beginning with Monster Motel (1993), occasionally shows itself—“Hello, my name is Dracula/My clothing is all blackula./I drive a Cadillacula./I am a maniacula”—too many of the entries are routine limericks, putdowns, character portraits, rhymed lists that fall flat on the ear, or quick quips: “It’s hard to be anonymous/When you’re a hippopotamus.” Florian’s language and simple, thick-lined cartoons illustrations are equally ingenuous, and he sticks to tried-and-true subjects, from dinosaurs to school lunch, but the well of inspiration seems dry; revisit his hilarious Bing Bang Boing (1994) instead. (index) (Poetry. 8-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-15-202084-5

Page Count: 158

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

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