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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Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages.

FROG AND BALL

From the I Like To Read Comics series

Never underestimate the chaotic fun that magic and an angry bouncing ball can create.

When Frog goes to the library, he borrows a book on magic. He then heads to a nearby park to read up on the skills necessary to becoming “a great magician.” Suddenly, a deflated yellow ball lands with a “Thud!” at his feet. Although he flexes his new magician muscles, Frog’s spells fall as flat as the ball. But when Frog shouts “Phooey!” and kicks the ball away, it inflates to become a big, angry ball. The ball begins to chase Frog, so he seeks shelter in the library—and Frog and ball turn the library’s usual calm into chaos. The cartoon chase crescendos. The ball bounces into the middle of a game of chess, interrupts a puppet show, and crashes into walls and bookcases. Staying just one bounce ahead, Frog runs, hides, grabs a ride on a book cart, and scatters books and papers as he slides across the library furniture before an alligator patron catches the ball and kicks it out the library door. But that’s not the end of the ball….Caple’s tidy panels and pastel-hued cartoons make a surprisingly effective setting for the slapstick, which should have young readers giggling. Simple sentences—often just subject and verb—with lots of repetition propel the action. Frog’s nonsense-word spells (“Poof Wiffle, Bop Bip!”) are both funny and excellent practice in phonetics. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Fast and furious action guaranteed to keep new readers laughing and turning pages. (Graphic early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 10, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4341-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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This tater trio, and worm, will keep readers laughing, singing, and cheering from the first page to the last.

THE GREATEST IN THE WORLD!

From the Tater Tales series , Vol. 1

One grumbly day, two mutant tater brothers vie to determine who is the greatest in the world.

It’s goofy-looking Rot Poe Tater, with an awesome unibrow and “surprisingly sturdy stick legs,” versus big brother Snot, a sleepy, upset couch potato with bedhead. Tot, their “usually super chipper” little sister, acts as the judge. The first challenge, a potato sack race with shades of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” ends in a tie. The second contest is Hot Potato Hill, where the brothers must roll down a hill after Tot. No one wins, and the third contest is a laugh-off. Rot declares he’s laughing so hard that he needs to pee his pants but then remembers he doesn’t wear pants. When Rot and Snot are laughed out, Tot is still giggling. That’s when the plot twists and twists again. The text, primarily boastful speech-bubble banter between Rot and Snot, also contains songs, cheers from an enthusiastic worm, and fun wordplay, including alliterative places names like Barrel Bottom Bog and the Moldy Mounds. Text in a smaller typeface alternates with graphic panels, keeping the action moving. Expressive potato faces make the action and emotions clear. Fans of the picture book Rot: The Cutest in the World (2016) will enjoy seeing the protagonist again; Clanton relies on the same simple yet expressive cartoon illustrations and humor.

This tater trio, and worm, will keep readers laughing, singing, and cheering from the first page to the last. (pictures of other taters who have excelled in the Hot Potato Hill challenge, facts about potatoes, lesson on how to draw Rot) (Graphic novel. 5-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9318-6

Page Count: 88

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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