OOPS!

A mad dash through Paris to catch a plane involves a family in the most improbable adventures ever imagined. Aunt Roberta slips on the soap, their taxi driver swerves to avoid the mailman, there are huge traffic jams all around and the subway suspends service. They try bikes, running through sewers and using every available conveyance, but of course they miss the plane. Some accommodating extraterrestrials return a bar of soap, cryptically mention cause-and-effect relationships and offer their spaceship in lieu of the missed plane. The text provides no further explanation for this lunacy, and the mayhem is made even more bizarre in Jolivet’s bright, busy illustrations filled with frantic energy. There are bears, bee swarms, pink water in the Seine, clowns, motorcades, parachutes, fireworks, helicopters and lots of other oddities on the oversized pages. The “chain of catastrophes” is explained on the last foldout page with a numbered key to the events (unfortunately in tiny, light-gray print). But young readers will pore over the pages, laugh out loud and just enjoy. Fun for anyone willing to surrender to the looniness. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8109-8749-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2010

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IGGY PECK, ARCHITECT

A repressive teacher almost ruins second grade for a prodigy in this amusing, if overwritten, tale. Having shown a fascination with great buildings since constructing a model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa from used diapers at age two, Iggy sinks into boredom after Miss Greer announces, throwing an armload of histories and craft projects into the trash, that architecture will be a taboo subject in her class. Happily, she changes her views when the collapse of a footbridge leaves the picnicking class stranded on an island, whereupon Iggy enlists his mates to build a suspension bridge from string, rulers and fruit roll-ups. Familiar buildings and other structures, made with unusual materials or, on the closing pages, drawn on graph paper, decorate Roberts’s faintly retro cartoon illustrations. They add an audience-broadening element of sophistication—as would Beaty’s decision to cast the text into verse, if it did not result in such lines as “After twelve long days / that passed in a haze / of reading, writing and arithmetic, / Miss Greer took the class / to Blue River Pass / for a hike and an old-fashioned picnic.” Another John Lithgow she is not, nor is Iggy another Remarkable Farkle McBride (2000), but it’s always salutary to see young talent vindicated. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-8109-1106-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2007

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DOG HEAVEN

Rylant's debut as a picture book illustrator (not to be confused with her board book debut as a collagist in The Everyday Books, 1993) offers sweet comfort to all who have lost loved ones, pets or otherwise. ``When dogs go to Heaven, they don't need wings because God knows that dogs love running best. He gives them fields. Fields and fields and fields.'' There are geese to bark at, plenty of children, biscuits, and, for those that need them, homes. In page- filling acrylics, small, simply brushed figures float against huge areas of bright colors: pictures infused with simple, doggy joy. At the end, an old man leans on a cane as he walks up a slope toward a small white dog: ``Dogs in Dog Heaven may stay as long as they like. . . .They will be there when old friends show up. They will be there at the door.'' Pure, tender, lyrical without being overearnest, and deeply felt. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-590-41701-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1995

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