Roll, fetch, bite. Life is good for Buddy and Earl in this aerobic exercise of the imagination.

BUDDY AND EARL GO EXPLORING

From the Buddy and Earl series

There are few things as pleasurable as a little nighttime adventure in which you get to trash the kitchen.

Chums Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog have had an eventful day and are ready for some slumber. At least Buddy is. Earl looks down from his cage at Buddy on the floor and whispers, “Wish me bon voyage.” Once Buddy is told what bon voyage means, he wants to know more, even if it does give him the collywobbles. Well, it means Earl is going to run, run, run. Pooped, Earl looks around: “This place looks eerily similar to the place I just left.” (The promise and treachery of the exercise wheel.) But there are other places to explore. It is squeeze-your-heart charming when Earl turns Buddy’s water bowl into a moonlit lake, and Buddy—the clumsy literalist—knocks over the garbage can only to find gold: meatloaf. There are monsters to tend with—hairbrush-eating purses, menacing vacuum cleaners—but better, there are fine sentences with which to wrestle: “It was a spur-of-the-moment decision”; “Wherever the road leads me....However long it takes.” Drawn with spare linework and great blocks of soft, dreamy color in a nighttime palette, the pals’ setting appropriately shifts between mundane and extraordinary, just like their adventure.

Roll, fetch, bite. Life is good for Buddy and Earl in this aerobic exercise of the imagination. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-55498-714-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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Chilling in the best ways.

CREEPY CRAYON!

From the Creepy Tales! series

When a young rabbit who’s struggling in school finds a helpful crayon, everything is suddenly perfect—until it isn’t.

Jasper is flunking everything except art and is desperate for help when he finds the crayon. “Purple. Pointy…perfect”—and alive. When Jasper watches TV instead of studying, he misspells every word on his spelling test, but the crayon seems to know the answers, and when he uses the crayon to write, he can spell them all. When he faces a math quiz after skipping his homework, the crayon aces it for him. Jasper is only a little creeped out until the crayon changes his art—the one area where Jasper excels—into something better. As guilt-ridden Jasper receives accolade after accolade for grades and work that aren’t his, the crayon becomes more and more possessive of Jasper’s attention and affection, and it is only when Jasper cannot take it anymore that he discovers just what he’s gotten himself into. Reynolds’ text might as well be a Rod Serling monologue for its perfectly paced foreboding and unsettling tension, both gentled by lightly ominous humor. Brown goes all in to match with a grayscale palette for everything but the purple crayon—a callback to black-and-white sci-fi thrillers as much as a visual cue for nascent horror readers. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Chilling in the best ways. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-6588-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2022

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A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors.

THE LEAF THIEF

A confused squirrel overreacts to the falling autumn leaves.

Relaxing on a tree branch, Squirrel admires the red, gold, and orange leaves. Suddenly Squirrel screams, “One of my leaves is…MISSING!” Searching for the leaf, Squirrel tells Bird, “Someone stole my leaf!” Spying Mouse sailing in a leaf boat, Squirrel asks if Mouse stole the leaf. Mouse calmly replies in the negative. Bird reminds Squirrel it’s “perfectly normal to lose a leaf or two at this time of year.” Next morning Squirrel panics again, shrieking, “MORE LEAVES HAVE BEEN STOLEN!” Noticing Woodpecker arranging colorful leaves, Squirrel queries, “Are those my leaves?” Woodpecker tells Squirrel, “No.” Again, Bird assures Squirrel that no one’s taking the leaves and that the same thing happened last year, then encourages Squirrel to relax. Too wired to relax despite some yoga and a bath, the next day Squirrel cries “DISASTER” at the sight of bare branches. Frantic now, Squirrel becomes suspicious upon discovering Bird decorating with multicolored leaves. Is Bird the culprit? In response, Bird shows Squirrel the real Leaf Thief: the wind. Squirrel’s wildly dramatic, misguided, and hyperpossessive reaction to a routine seasonal event becomes a rib-tickling farce through clever use of varying type sizes and weights emphasizing his absurd verbal pronouncements as well as exaggerated, comic facial expressions and body language. Bold colors, arresting perspectives, and intense close-ups enhance Squirrel’s histrionics. Endnotes explain the science behind the phenomenon.

A hilarious autumnal comedy of errors. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7282-3520-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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