Explorations of bad moods can be potent source material, but this jumbled attempt will give curmudgeons one more thing to...

READ REVIEW

THE UNBUDGEABLE CURMUDGEON

Grouchy siblings try to shake each other in and out of bad moods.

Bouncing, irregularly rhyming text that pops with soft-G sounds explores the different ways of getting someone out of a grump-spiral. “You might ask the curmudgeon / if he wouldn’t mind scooching / over a smidgen.” Or: “Hugs can budge curmudgeons,” and if all else fails, “Some say, / ‘If you can’t budge ’em, / join ’em.” The curmudgeon (defined in the beginning as “A bad-tempered, difficult, cranky person”) looks like a fanged and furry orange monster that slowly distills into a white child with red hair as their mood improves. Their sibling, initially presented as human, then begins their own transformation as their mood sours, growing fangs and fuzzy, clawful paws. The art in this story is rich and satisfying, created with stamps and blow pens, and it practically bursts off the page. The text is less engaging, sometimes feeling contrived and other times cloying or preachy. The thin story closes with “It can be tricky / to get the gunk off / the funkiest funks, / but once a curmudgeon / begins to budge… // …you’d be surprised how quickly… / the grouchiness can vanish!” It’s an awfully chipper signoff for a book that’s supposedly about inveterate grumps. The siblings, with red hair that matches the curmudgeon’s fuzz, both present white.

Explorations of bad moods can be potent source material, but this jumbled attempt will give curmudgeons one more thing to complain about. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55662-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The lack of adventure and the pat, pedestrian resolution makes this an ineffective if well-intentioned appeal to get past...

SNOW BEAST COMES TO PLAY

Unfortunately for one disgruntled snow beast, there isn’t a whole lot to do on the mountain aside from snoring or comparing relative foot size (big, bigger, biggest).

Tobogganing all the way down on his prodigious rump, Snow Beast lands in town to start his search for a friend. Snow Beast is as large as a three-story building, and his voice is just as huge. Despite having the conversational skills of a caveman—“SNOW BEAST WANT PLAY!”—Snow Beast appears to know a lot about the rules of friendship, such as always starting with “Hello,” and “to try to join in.” Nevertheless, Snow Beast’s overtures of friendship are rejected by everyone—from the five o’clock shadowed snow-shoveler to the shrieking Christmas-light committee. Penny, a little white girl who loves snow but knows enough to be wary of snow beasts, screeches and runs after his bellowed, “HELLO!!” But when Snow Beast starts crying, Penny, despite her dog’s advice to the contrary, invites the beast to play. And that’s about it, as far as plot is concerned. Gosier’s spare illustrations evoke the animation style of the 1950s. Speech bubbles capture the scant lines of dialogue as well as every screech, shriek, and howl of the terrified townsfolk.

The lack of adventure and the pat, pedestrian resolution makes this an ineffective if well-intentioned appeal to get past the unreliability of first impressions. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-519-5

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Sept. 18, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations.

GINNY GOBLIN IS NOT ALLOWED TO OPEN THIS BOX

She may not be allowed to, but the eponymous green-skinned, overalls-clad monster thinks of many magnificent, creative ways to open that box before dinnertime.

Ginny’s large head sports huge, white eyes with long, dark lashes, a cheerful, two-fanged grin, and two pointy ears—one of which is torn. In other words, she is undoubtedly a nonharmful sort of goblin. After the text makes it clear that Ginny is not allowed to open the box until dinnertime—but “she really wants to know what’s inside”—it asks, “What if we put the box way up on a shelf?” Next, readers learn the many (often absurdly hypothetical) things that Ginny Goblin is not allowed to do in order to reach the box, including using a rope and a grappling hook or building a catapult or poking at “scaly, scary serpents” in a “murky moat.” Needing to wait until dinnertime strikes a familiar chord with this age group and becomes an appropriate refrain. Lighthearted, cartoony artwork mostly supports the text’s tongue-in-cheek tone, leading to laughs about the outlandish suggestions. However, slapstick images of Ginny’s body slamming against a stone tower and, later, Ginny clobbering serpents may strike many as unnecessarily violent. Suspense builds when Ginny temporarily turns her attention away from opening the box. The closure of knowing what’s inside is supplemented by a punchline well understood by children who have been given boundaries by adults.

A funny read-aloud with (mostly) chuckle-inducing illustrations. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: July 17, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-76415-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more