Genuinely clever.

READ REVIEW

THE CROWN AFFAIR

Noir whodunit in the land of Mother Goose.

When Jack loses his crown after falling down that hill, who better to crack the case than hard-boiled Joe Dumpty, private eye? (Joe made his rep by solving the mystery surrounding his brother in What REALLY Happened to Humpty?, 2009.) Jill leaps over the yellow crime-scene tape to meet him at the hill. Jack's eyes look like pinwheels as he tells Joe what he remembers; dizzy Jill can't add much more. Spider goes over the crime scene with a fine-tooth comb...literally! Joe visits the Sprats, who are fighting; could it be about the crown? Jack B. Nimble is on crutches; he fell while practicing his candle-jumping. He's an unlikely suspect. And in the house that Jack built, "Goldy" describes a suspicious encounter with the Muffin Man. Joe grills this sailor-suited gourmand, who implicates yet another Jack, the one who went up the beanstalk. While Joe visits this sulky Jack, Spider takes a trip up the beanstalk to talk to the giant. Between them, they solve the crime, and just in time. Joe and Spider can tackle their next case: The cow has jumped over the moon and hasn't been seen since. The pun-packed yarn may go over the heads of younger readers, but their grown-ups will chuckle, and everyone will enjoy the impish twists on familiar images in Axelsen's Photoshop illustrations.

Genuinely clever. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-58089-552-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Nov. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it...

FEAR THE BUNNY

A tiger can’t believe it’s being upstaged in this picture-book riff on William Blake’s famous poem.

A group of zoologically diverse animals huddle around a fire, listening to a porcupine read from a chilling poem: “Bunnies, bunnies, burning bright, / in the forests of the night—.” An incredulous tiger interrupts, saying that the poem is actually about it. But a squirrel matter-of-factly states that “Here, it’s ‘bunnies, bunnies.’ ” The tiger still doesn’t understand why the animals would be so afraid of bunnies but not afraid of tigers and tries to explain why it, an apex predator, is far more threatening. The smaller animals remain unimpressed, calmly telling the tiger that “In this forest, we fear the bunny” and that it should “Hide now, before it’s too late.” An amusing and well-done premise slightly disappoints at the climax, with the tiger streaking away in terror before a horde of headlamp-wearing bunnies, but eager readers never learn what, exactly, the bunnies would do if they caught up. But at the end, a group of tigers joins the other animals in their awestruck reading of the adapted Blake poem, included in full at the end. Cute, fuzzy illustrations contrast nicely with the dark tone and forest background.

A quirky, fun story that will appeal to young audiences looking for a little bit of scare, with a premise so good it overcomes a weak conclusion. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7800-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Nov. 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems.

DIGGER, DOZER, DUMPER

Rhyming poems introduce children to anthropomorphized trucks of all sorts, as well as the jobs that they do.

Adorable multiethnic children are the drivers of these 16 trucks—from construction equipment to city trucks, rescue vehicles and a semi—easily standing in for readers, a point made very clear on the final spread. Varying rhyme schemes and poem lengths help keep readers’ attention. For the most part, the rhymes and rhythms work, as in this, from “Cement Mixer”: “No time to wait; / he can’t sit still. / He has to beg your pardon. / For if he dawdles on the way, / his slushy load will harden.” Slonim’s trucks each sport an expressive pair of eyes, but the anthropomorphism stops there, at least in the pictures—Vestergaard sometimes takes it too far, as in “Bulldozer”: “He’s not a bully, either, / although he’s big and tough. / He waits his turn, plays well with friends, / and pushes just enough.” A few trucks’ jobs get short shrift, to mixed effect: “Skid-Steer Loader” focuses on how this truck moves without the typical steering wheel, but “Semi” runs with a royalty analogy and fails to truly impart any knowledge. The acrylic-and-charcoal artwork, set against white backgrounds, keeps the focus on the trucks and the jobs they are doing.

While there are many rhyming truck books out there, this stands out for being a collection of poems. (Picture book/poetry. 3-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5078-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 29, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more