A delightful read-aloud book with sharp illustrations and energetic text.



During a routine bathtime, a young boy is joined by a wild bunch of messy and amusing animals in this picture book.

“Tommy O’Tom / was taking a bath / when in walked a hippo—and then a giraffe.” So begins this comical story; soon, these creatures climb into the tub, and a flamingo, zebra, and elephant shortly join them. They whimsically splash around, take note of interesting bathroom features, write on the mirror, and track mud and feathers. When Hippo complains that the water’s too cold, they turn on the shower, spraying it onto the wall. When Tommy’s mom arrives, she’s shocked by the mess. When he attempts to explain, he sees that “the animals had all disappeared!” Belle (Freeda the Cheetah, 2017, etc.) has perfectly captured the imagination of children in this lively book. The opening lines set a bouncy limerick pattern that makes it very entertaining to read aloud, although in some places the anapestic meter isn’t as clear. Thankfully, the author successfully avoids awkward, forced rhymes. Motz’s (The Ocean’s Power, 2018, etc.) precise illustrations are vivid, offering humorous details, particularly characters’ facial expressions. Colored text, corresponding with each character’s dialogue, adds interest and will help children follow the story.

A delightful read-aloud book with sharp illustrations and energetic text.

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-05463-5

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Picklefish Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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