HUMPTY DUMPTY EGG-SPLODES

O’Malley throws a spanner in the Mother Goose works when he lets Humpty Dumpty snap and go on a rampage through the land of nursery rhymes. Here, the story is told by the father of a student who is plainly not of nursery-school age, so no holds are barred. As he tells it, while Mother Goose is away, Humpty Dumpty goes berserk from lack of respect. Old King Cole is sitting in for Mother Goose and though he is better known for his merriment than his brains, he tries to do what he can. The king throws what he’s got at the rampaging egg: Peter Piper’s pickled peppers, for instance, and the Duke of York’s 10,000 men, and Peter Pumpkin Eater’s pumpkin. The Muffin Man lends a hand, but it’s up to Humpty Dumpty to self-destruct, sort of, and in the process gain some of that cherished respect from the good folk of nurseryland. (Imagine Humpty as an Elvis impersonator and you get the idea.) Though O’Malley’s comic, high-octane artwork gives the proceedings an edge, there is nothing really vicious in these pages: “He found Jack Horner sitting in a corner. He stole his plum, Christmas pie and all,” is typical. And while O’Malley is busy sticking his finger in the eye of Mother Goose, he also pays homage to the timeless verses by weaving them directly into the text. As bratty as its intended audience, this poaches from the best scramblers. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-8027-8756-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2001

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An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some...

RALPH TELLS A STORY

With a little help from his audience, a young storyteller gets over a solid case of writer’s block in this engaging debut.

Despite the (sometimes creatively spelled) examples produced by all his classmates and the teacher’s assertion that “Stories are everywhere!” Ralph can’t get past putting his name at the top of his paper. One day, lying under the desk in despair, he remembers finding an inchworm in the park. That’s all he has, though, until his classmates’ questions—“Did it feel squishy?” “Did your mom let you keep it?” “Did you name it?”—open the floodgates for a rousing yarn featuring an interloping toddler, a broad comic turn and a dramatic rescue. Hanlon illustrates the episode with childlike scenes done in transparent colors, featuring friendly-looking children with big smiles and widely spaced button eyes. The narrative text is printed in standard type, but the children’s dialogue is rendered in hand-lettered printing within speech balloons. The episode is enhanced with a page of elementary writing tips and the tantalizing titles of his many subsequent stories (“When I Ate Too Much Spaghetti,” “The Scariest Hamster,” “When the Librarian Yelled Really Loud at Me,” etc.) on the back endpapers.

An engaging mix of gentle behavior modeling and inventive story ideas that may well provide just the push needed to get some budding young writers off and running. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-0761461807

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Amazon Children's Publishing

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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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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