Rot on, Ralph! (Early reader. 6-8)

ROTTEN RALPH'S ROTTEN FAMILY

From the Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers series

Just how did Rotten Ralph get so rotten?

Poor, beleaguered Sarah is at her wits’ end with her beloved Rotten Ralph when she cannot find a catsitter willing to care for him. Ralph, chagrined and not a little defensive, takes a trip down Memory Lane via a photo album documenting his time as a kitten with his feline family. Convinced that he sees no evidence of rottenness there (though readers may think otherwise if they examine Rubel’s illustrations), he heads back to the family farm to discover how he ended up so rotten. Once there, hilarity ensues as his family (with the exception of his mother) reveals that they weren’t hapless victims in his photographed hijinks. “Did you find out why you are so rotten?” Ralph’s mother asks him before he gratefully heads home to Sarah. “Yes,” he responds. “Because everyone was so rotten to me.” Poor Ralph returns to Sarah a reformed cat and proceeds to clean his room, tidy the house and prepare her a fancy breakfast in bed. However, fans of Ralph’s rotten ways needn’t be concerned about this apparent transformation, as a closing line asserts that he’s grateful not for some internal change, but for the knowledge that Sarah loves him enough that he can do whatever he wants.

Rot on, Ralph! (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 11, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-374-36353-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 24, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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