BAD BOYS

It’s a close shave—literally—for two big bad wolves in Palatini’s latest hilariously re-spun folktale that’s full of punishly good humor. Having escaped from an angry Red Riding Hood and three thoroughly steamed pigs, Willy and Wally Wolf go “on the lam” by disguising themselves in (what else?) sheep’s clothing. They may fool new flock mates Trudie Ewe and Meryl Sheep, but canny Betty Mutton, knowing “baa-aa-ad” when she sees it, tricks the hirsute pair into standing in a certain line . . . and suddenly they’re being shorn to within a hair of their bare hides. His idea of sheep’s clothing including beads, high heels, and loose, brightly patterned housedresses, Cole depicts two decidedly doggy predators unsuccessfully trying to hide their delight at being among so many lambchops on the hoof, but last seen hurriedly knitting woolens to cover their peach-fuzz pelts. Delighted young readers will hope for more appearances from this inept but “Bad . . . bad . . . really, really bad” duo. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-000102-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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DIARY OF A SPIDER

The wriggly narrator of Diary of a Worm (2003) puts in occasional appearances, but it’s his arachnid buddy who takes center stage here, with terse, tongue-in-cheek comments on his likes (his close friend Fly, Charlotte’s Web), his dislikes (vacuums, people with big feet), nervous encounters with a huge Daddy Longlegs, his extended family—which includes a Grandpa more than willing to share hard-won wisdom (The secret to a long, happy life: “Never fall asleep in a shoe.”)—and mishaps both at spider school and on the human playground. Bliss endows his garden-dwellers with faces and the odd hat or other accessory, and creates cozy webs or burrows colorfully decorated with corks, scraps, plastic toys and other human detritus. Spider closes with the notion that we could all get along, “just like me and Fly,” if we but got to know one another. Once again, brilliantly hilarious. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-000153-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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DIARY OF A WORM

Each turn of the page will bring fresh waves of giggles as a young worm records one misadventure after another. He tries to teach his arachnid friend how to dig a tunnel; learns the peril of hanging out on a sidewalk during a game of hopscotch; suffers a nightmare from eating too much garbage before bedtime; makes a one-piece macaroni necklace in art class; earns a parental reprimand for telling his older sister that “no matter how much time she spends looking in the mirror, her face will always look just like her rear end,” and much, much more. Bliss gives this limbless young diarist a face and an identifying red cap, adds plenty of sight gags, and just to set the tone, plasters (painted) snapshots on the endpapers captioned “My favorite pile of dirt,” “My report card” (“Needs to resist eating homework”), etc., etc. Readers will come away with the insight that worms may not be so good at walking upside down or doing the Hokey Pokey, but they do play an important role in taking care of the Earth. Not so different from us, after all. (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-06-000150-X

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2003

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