JOHNNY BOO AND THE MEAN LITTLE BOY

Plenty of potty references and a bully who gets what he deserves thanks to a juicy “sneeze-boo” ensure chortles galore from the emergent-reader set for the ghostly Johnny’s fourth appearance. Ghostlet Squiggle—a comma-shaped wisp in Kochalka’s very simple colored panels—is on his own while Johnny Boo plays with Rocky the Rock. Lonely, he thinks that Mean Little Boy might be a new friend, but he learns better when MLB traps him in a jar before rushing off to pee. “I hope you PEE your PANTS!” shouts Squiggle after him. “Oh wait. Was that a mean thing to say?” By the time MLB comes back (wearing a different pair of pants), Johnny has shown up to rescue his ectoplasmic little buddy with a loud “BOO!”—accompanied by a messy sneeze, as he’s coming down with a cold. Closing with a jovial further discussion of Mean Little Boy’s weeing habits, this entry should make as big a splash as the earlier episodes. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-60309-059-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Top Shelf Productions

Review Posted Online: Jan. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2010

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OTTO’S ORANGE DAY

Young Otto loves orange so much that when a sly genie rises up out of an old lamp he receives from Aunt Sally Lee, he uses his one wish to turn all the world that color. His ensuing bliss changes to blues, though, after he gets a gander at his orange lunch and then sees what happens on the street when every traffic light is the same color. Cammuso illustrates comics veteran Lynch’s tale in neatly drawn sequential panels, casting Otto as a cat (marmalade, of course) in human dress and pairing him with a blue, distinctly Disneyesque genie. Discovering that said genie hasn’t eaten in 880 years, Otto cleverly calls on the persuasive power of pizza to reverse the wish, and by the end all’s well. Low on violence and high on production values, this comics-format “Toon Book” will leave emergent readers wishing for more. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 9, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-9799238-2-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: RAW Junior/TOON Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2008

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Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities.

BENNY AND PENNY IN LIGHTS OUT

From the Benny and Penny series

It’s bedtime for the mouseling brother and sister—but not before plenty of horsing around and a deliciously scary expedition into the backyard.

As little Penny quietly tries to wash up and pretend-read a story (“One day the princess was sent to her room for being bratty. But she had a secret door…”), her restless big brother interrupts obnoxiously with warnings about the Boogey Mouse, loud belches and other distractions. When Benny realizes that he’s left his prized pirate hat in the backyard, though, Penny braves the Boogey Mouse to follow him out of the window and prod him into reclaiming it from the spooky, dark playhouse. She also “reads” him to sleep after the two race, giggling at their fright, back indoors. Framed in sequential panels that occasionally expand to full-page or double-spread scenes, the art features a pair of big-eared, bright-eyed mites (plus the occasional fictive dinosaur) in cozy domestic settings atmospherically illuminated by the glow of lamps, Benny’s flashlight and the moon. As in this popular series’ earlier episodes, dialogue in unobtrusive balloons furnishes the only text, but the action is easy to follow, and Hayes provides plenty of finely drawn visual cues to the characters’ feelings.

Another outing positively radiant with child appeal, featuring a pair of close siblings with complementary personalities. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-935179-20-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: TOON/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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