Guaranteed hysterics for readers with strong stomachs

I LOVE LEMONADE

“Revenge is a drink best served cold,” reads the book’s ominous epigraph.

Quirky Turkey, who was tricked by Little Baa Baa into eating poo in Baa Baa Smart Sheep (2016), wants revenge. Billy the goat offers a glass of yellowish liquid (likely this won’t end well for someone). Little Baa Baa happens by, and after commenting on the heat of the day, Turkey offers Baa Baa a cool glass of lemonade. Little Baa Baa loves lemonade, especially fresh-squeezed lemonade. And this lemonade is free, according to Turkey, to turkeys—er, and sheep. Little Baa Baa is suspicious; it looks like pee. As in the earlier book, the action is all in the fast-paced dialogue: “ ‘So you’re sure it’s lemonade?’ / ‘Yes, it’s lemonade.’ / ‘That’s fresh.’ / ‘And squeezed.’ / ‘And delicious.’ / ‘And free!’ / ‘To sheep.’ / ‘And turkeys!’ / ‘YOU’RE a turkey!’ / ‘I AM a turkey!’ / ‘Who likes lemonade?’ / ‘Who LOVES lemonade!’ / ‘Then…why don’t you help yourself?’ / ‘Don’t mind if I do!’ ” Poor Quirky Turkey, tricked again. Little Baa Baa offers a cookie in consolation (you don’t want to know). The Sommersets offer another tale of mischief told mostly in dialogue bubbles that is sure to make parents groan and …um…wee ones double over with laughter. Both the earth-toned, cartoon critters on slightly paler earth-toned solid backgrounds and precise sense of comedic pacing again bring Willems to mind.

Guaranteed hysterics for readers with strong stomachs . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8067-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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Eggs-quisitely excellent.

THE GOOD EGG

Being a good egg can be eggs-cruciatingly stressful.

This earnest counterpart to John and Oswald’s hilarious The Bad Seed (2017) opens with a direct address from an oval-shaped saint to readers: “Oh, hello! I was just rescuing this cat. Know why? Because I’m a good egg.” Just how good is this egg? “Verrrrrry good.” Without hesitation, the bespectacled egg offers to help others with carrying groceries, painting houses, and changing tires. The good egg even tries to “keep the peace” among the other 11 eggs in its dozen, who forgo their bedtime, eat sugary cereal, and break stuff. Rotten eggs indeed! When the pressure of being good proves too much, the beleaguered egg embarks on a journey of self-care. John embeds a seed of a great idea—finding a balance between personal and social responsibility—within a rip-roaring, touching narrative. Despite his sober narrator, the author’s sense of humor remains intact thanks to some clever (and punny) wordplay. Likewise, Oswald’s digitally composed, bright artwork pops with rib-tickling close-ups and character-building moments. Both text and art complement each other perfectly. Too long alone, the protagonist heads back to its rowdy family, imparting a slice of wisdom to readers: “I’ll be good to my fellow eggs while also being good to myself.” It’s an empowering moment made all the better when this good egg returns to find a rapturous welcome from the others.

Eggs-quisitely excellent. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-286600-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2018

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