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M IS FOR MISCHIEF by Linda Ashman


An A to Z of Naughty Children

by Linda Ashman & illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-525-47564-4
Publisher: Dutton

The illustrator of Jenny Offill’s 17 Things I’m Not Allowed To Do Anymore (2007) builds on a clear knack for depicting deceptively fresh-faced children with this extended alliterative gallery of malfeasants. From Angry Abby (“Abby’s apt to argue anytime and anyplace. / She’ll argue over apricots, an acorn, or an ace…”) to hyperactive Zany Zelda, young folk act out in a broad range of ways—and often come to bad ends in consequence. Tantrum-prone Vile Vern, for instance, “Aimed his venom at a snake. / Vexed the viper. / Vern’s mistake.” Carpenter’s mixed-media illustrations are positively inspired: Blustering Buster, certain he can fly, leaps off the barn with wings made out of blue first-place ribbons; Mischievous Martin races his shopping cart directly toward the reader, mouth open in an almost audible yell, spilling photographic watermelons as he goes. Picking up where the many descendants of Struwwelpeter leave off, these character portraits aren’t likely to change anyone’s behavior set, but they’ll certainly elicit nods of recognition, even from younger children. (Picture book. 7-9)