TACKYLOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

From the Tacky the Penguin series

Pomposity gets one on the snoot when Tacky the Penguin (Tacky and the Emperor, 2000, etc.) returns to take the lead in the school play. Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, and Perfect—penguins all—are staging a play for Mrs. Beakly’s school. Tacky is begrudgingly allowed to join and gets the role of Goldilocks, or, in this case, Tackylocks. Their lines mastered, the penguins take to the stage in front of Mrs. Beakly’s class of little fuzzy and obstreperous penguin chicks. Tackylocks gallumphs his way through the performance: chowing down all the porridge (even when it is too hot or too cold); piling the chairs atop one another to get at the cookie jar on top of the cabinet; taking a great pratfall—“A penguin full of porridge does not fall like a snowflake. ‘Cool!’ cheered the Little Fuzzy Ones”—and then promptly falls asleep in the little bear’s bed. The other penguins go stiffly through the motions, visibly disturbed that not all appears to be going as planned. Then Tacky explodes out of the bed and stages a pillow fight, in which all the Little Fuzzy Ones get active. The play is a crashing success; there is little wonder why, and their names aren’t Goodly, Lovely, Angel, Neatly, or Perfect. Lester doesn’t overdue the text, but keeps it at a crisp, droll level, and, as usual, Munsinger’s illustrations catch the right proportion of absurdity and comeuppance. Another victory for oddfellows everywhere. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2002

ISBN: 0-618-22490-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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MY LUCKY DAY

It’s become predictable, this story of the pig outfoxing the fox, but Kasza’s version does sport his lively art and a measure of dry humor. When a piglet comes knocking on Mr. Fox’s door, the fox can’t believe his luck; he’s not used to delivery service. The piglet is just about to be tucked in the oven, when he suggests a few improvements to Mr. Fox. Wouldn’t he taste better if he were washed first—“Just a thought, Mr. Fox”—and plumped up and perhaps massaged to tenderize the meat? The fox agrees that he would, rushing madly about scrubbing, feeding, and working the piglet’s tissues, and promptly falling into an exhausted swoon. The pig is last seen back in his pen, thumbing through his address book—Mr. Bear, Mr. Wolf, Mr. Coyote—getting ready to work the same ruse on another carnivore. Fun enough, though no self-respecting four-year-old will be very worried about this little porker’s fate. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-399-23874-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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