Everyone should have an UnStealer in the house.

THE UNSTEALER

A spooky gentleman with a Salvador Dali mustache comes to clear away those pesky un's that frustrate, anger and rob us of our confidence.

The writer/artist Wilson team—whom readers learn on the credits page were unintelligent, untalented and unlucky in love before the UnStealer came to the rescue—here produce a serious gem. The UnStealer steals and collects un's: large, medium and small, upper- or lowercase, bold or italicized (all illustrated by a touch of the finger). He can make unsure and unfriendly and untrained into sure and friendly and trained with a swish of his butterfly net or a flick of his fishhook. A party with an unhappy clown, a woman who is undecided about her outfit and an unfriendly junkyard dog named Chompy all need the UnStealer to get back on track. The Wilsons have a merry time with wordplay—“under the feetkerchiefs and next to the gooey giggle gag, between the wiggly sticks and on top of his coo-coo kazoo”—and a good sense of internal rhymes. The art is sweetly drawn and sophisticated, with bleeding watercolors as dazzling as geological specimens—malachite, lapis, sulfur—and collages that create an exotic yet welcoming atmosphere. The interplay between user and application is surprisingly deep and frequently, er, unexpected.

Everyone should have an UnStealer in the house. (iPad storybook app. 4-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2014

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Joshua Wilson

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2014

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ABIYOYO RETURNS

The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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