No fare required for this trip, just a tongue and a cheek in which to put it.


In a droll episode that caters to the beliefs of many Manhattanites, a cabbie discovers that the “other side of town” actually is an alternate universe.

The bemused narrator's fare is a strange gent in a pale green body suit topped by a pink pompom. Following his directions takes the cabbie through the “Finkon” (not Lincoln) Tunnel to “Schmeeker” (not Bleecker) Street—where “glom” (not palm) trees grow, baseball fans root for the Spankees or the Smets, and “mush hour” jams the roadways. Fortunately, getting back entails little more than a quick trip over the undulating Snooklyn Bridge to…Times Square!—though signs of leakage between the realities follow when dinner that night turns out to be “tweet loaf, with bravy.” Agee illustrates his sparely told tale with large cartoon scenes rendered in muted colors and dizzying tangles of offbeat urban detail; the "other side" looks an awful lot like Hobbiton as rendered by Dr. Seuss. Though the cabbie's fellow New Yorkers are this book's most obvious audience, with a little prompting, children from just about anywhere can have uproarious fun replicating the wordplay and imagining just what the other sides of their towns might be like.

No fare required for this trip, just a tongue and a cheek in which to put it. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16204-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Michael di Capua/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2012

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.


From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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


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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