From the creators of The Loyal Cat (1995), a mild cautionary tale with a traditional Japanese setting. Young Jiro's bad habit of putting into his mouth any old thing that looks interesting comes home to roost when he swallows a "purple blob" that turns out to be the Hunger Monster. Suddenly, he's very, very hungry—to the point where not even a net, a bucket of fish guts, his quilt, a pillow, a doctor's box of medicine, or a priest's beads are safe. What's his family to do? Using strong, dark lines of cut paper and subtly modulated colors, Sogabe offers uncrowded, sharply detailed scenes of a chubby-cheeked lad cheerfully stuffing his face as worried or dismayed adults look on. Jiro's brother Taro provides the solution at last; tying Jiro to a nearby post, the family lays out a feast, then invites a puppet master to bring one of his beautiful creations to "enjoy" it. Unbearably tempted, the Hunger Monster leaps from Jiro's mouth to the puppet's—and falls through to the ground. Other renditions of the "Fat Cat" story, such as Ginsburg's Clay Boy (1997) or Hardendorf's Slip, Slop, Gobble (1970) can be frightening to younger children; here the monster, seen at last on the final page, is decidedly unthreatening. Yummy. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 15, 2001

ISBN: 0-8234-1542-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2001


From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003


Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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