TELEPHONE by Mac Barnett


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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Barnett and Corace set up an absurdist version of the old “pass it on” game of Telephone, siting it quite literally—along a line of birds on a wire.

An aproned pigeon with a steaming deep-dish pie tells a baseball bat–toting young cardinal: “Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner.” The cardinal translates the message to a goose in a pilot’s cap and goggles: “Tell Peter: Hit pop flies and homers.” The goose tells a feather-dusting ostrich in a French maid’s get-up, “Tell Peter: Prop planes are for fliers.” The maid interprets, “Tell Peter: Put your wet socks in the dryer.” And so it goes, with seven more birds relaying the message with new twists that reflect their respective avocations, from rock star to firefighter. That seventh fowl, a certifiably paranoid chicken, conveys to an unruffled owl a message that wildly mixes up all of the previous ones: “Tell Peter: There’s a giant monster lobster named Homer! / He smells like socks and he breathes red fire! / …and he’s coming to this wire! / Tell Peter to fly! / …He’s too young to be / somebody’s dinner!” Corace cleverly outfits her mixed-media birds with accoutrements including an electric guitar, cameras, books and—for Peter and his baseball teammates—bubble gum. The sage, bookish owl gets the message right, and Peter, ostensibly, his dinner.

Silly fun! (Pass it on.) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4521-1023-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2014


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