He may be a master of suspense, but the only mystery surrounding Coben’s first foray into picture books may be why he wrote...

THE MAGICAL FANTASTICAL FRIDGE

When his mother instructs him to set the table for an extended family dinner, Walden rebels; he’d rather have an adventure than deal with boring relatives.

Walden gets his wish when one of his crayon drawings sucks him into the art on the fridge. Hopping from one bit of refrigerator detritus to the next, he moves through coupons, photographs, ads, and more, eventually escaping with a better appreciation for home. The narrative is composed primarily of Walden’s expository exclamations as he moves from ticket stub to birthday invitation and beyond. The intention here appears to be to inspire kids to use what’s stuck on their own home fridges to create their own adventures. Yet Walden’s travels are so arbitrary and without plot that when at last he escapes the fridge, the statement that home with family is “the best PLACE in the WHOLE WORLD” is unearned. Debut artist Tinari, whose art Coben discovered on the wall of one of his favorite restaurants, brings to the book a wild sensibility; she’s unafraid to toy with panels, styles, and narrative jump-cuts, and the text is hand-lettered, with frequent and distracting changes in style. Readers may occasionally have difficulty connecting to her figures, since they do not always resemble one another from one page to the next.

He may be a master of suspense, but the only mystery surrounding Coben’s first foray into picture books may be why he wrote such a convoluted hodgepodge. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42803-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While not exactly novel, it’s well-executed and very funny.

THE PRINCESS IN BLACK AND THE HUNGRY BUNNY HORDE

From the Princess in Black series , Vol. 3

The Princess in Black’s cutest adventure yet—no, really, the monsters are deceptively cute.

While Princess Magnolia and unicorn Frimplepants are on their way to a much anticipated brunch with Princess Sneezewort, Magnolia’s monster alarm goes off, forcing an emergency costume change on her and Frimplepants to become the Princess in Black and her faithful steed, Blacky. They rush to rescue goat boy Duff, hoping to save the day in time for doughnuts. However, when they arrive, instead of monsters they see a field full of adorable bunnies. Pham’s illustrations give the bunnies wide-eyed innocence and little puffballs on the tips of their ears. Duff tries to explain that they’re menaces from Monster Land that eat everything (all the grass, a tree, a goat’s horn…), but the Princess has trouble imagining that monsters might come in such a cute package. By the time she does, there are too many to fight! Humor comes from the juxtaposed danger and adorableness. Just when the bunnies decide to eat the Princess, Blacky—who, as Frimplepants, is fluent in Cuteness—communicates that she’s not food and persuades the bunnies to return to Monster Land. While Princess Magnolia and Frimplepants are too late for brunch, Princess Sneezewort gets the consolation prize of lunch with the Princess in Black and Blacky.

While not exactly novel, it’s well-executed and very funny. (Fantasy. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6513-5

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more