Tasty fare for alien fans.

EVEN ALIENS NEED SNACKS

When his summer snack stand fails to attract family and neighbors, an enterprising young chef with a flair for the unusual draws some very weird customers from way out of town.

This creative young boy likes to help his mom cook and make up his own recipes. His sister finds his eggplant, mustard, and lemonade smoothie disgusting and warns him that no one in the world or the universe would eat what he cooks. Undaunted, he builds a snack stand, but no one comes for his waffles, smoothies and sandwiches. Just as the boy gives up, a flying saucer lands near the shack one night, and his first alien customer samples the mushroom iced tea. Word spreads through the galaxy, and creatures line up nightly for their favorite dishes: Swiss-cheese doughnut holes, turnip-side-down cake, sponge cake with leeks, and bean puffs. But when the boy mixes all his favorite ingredients into Galactic Pudding, he may have gone too far for even his far-out clientele. Rendered in ink, pencil and digital techniques, quiet illustrations embellish the spare text by casting glowing moonlight on a bevy of eerie, silly, fantastical extraterrestrials in nocturnal purples, blues and greens. Whimsical pairing of creatures and snacks—an enormous critter with a giant mouthful of teeth loves the toothpaste soup, for instance—proves especially rib-tickling.

Tasty fare for alien fans. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8027-2398-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Walker

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2012

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A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in.

AT THE OLD HAUNTED HOUSE

A Halloween book that rides on the rhythms of “Over in the Meadow.”

Although Halloween rhyming counting books abound, this stands out, with a text that begs to be read aloud and cartoony digital illustrations that add goofy appeal. A girl and two boys set off on Halloween night to go trick-or-treating. As the children leave the cozy, warm glow of their street, readers see a haunted house on a hill, with gravestones dotting the front yard. Climbing the twisty path to the dark estate takes time, so the story turns to the antics inside the house. “At the old haunted house in a room with no sun / lived a warty green witch and her wee witch one. ‘SPELL!’ cried the witch. ‘POOF!’ cried the one. / And they both practiced spells in the room with no sun.” The actions of the scary creatures within may seem odd, but the rhyme must go on: Cats scratch, goblins dust, monsters stir, and mummies mix. Eventually the three kids reach the front door and are invited in for stew, cake and brew. At first shocked by the gruesome fare, the children recover quickly and get caught up in partying with the slightly spooky but friendly menagerie.

A good choice to share with wriggly listeners, who will soon be joining in. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4769-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.

IT HAPPENED ON SWEET STREET

Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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