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CHESTER

Mélanie Watt is NOT the author of this book—Chester, her plump calico cat with the big red marker, is. Mouse is NOT the star of the story. Chester uses his red marker to edit the story, sending Mouse on a vacation: “Hasta la vista, Mousie!” Mouse returns from Mexico with a big bulldog. Chester uses the power of the pen to make the dog vegetarian. Mélanie and Mouse try to take back control, but Chester edits himself a perfectly Chester-filled day. Mélanie rains on his parade, so Chester writes THE END. When Mélanie capitulates and makes Chester the star, he’s not the least bit happy with the wardrobe. Canadian creator of Scaredy Squirrel, Watt has concocted an excellent and decidedly silly addition to the meta-textual picture-book canon. Chester is a cheeky and delightful author/hero. He’s even conveniently marked a place on the cover of his book for an award sticker. Highly recommended. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-1-55453-140-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2005

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WHERE DO FROGS COME FROM?

The lifecycle of the frog is succinctly summarized in this easy reader for children reading at the late first-grade level. In just one or two sentences per page, Vern details the amazing metamorphosis of the frog from egg to tadpole to adult, even injecting a little humor despite the tight word count. (“Watch out fly! Mmmm!) Large, full-color photographs on white backgrounds clearly illustrate each phase of development. Without any mention of laying eggs or fertilization, the title might be a bit misleading, but the development from black dot egg to full-grown frog is fascinating. A simple chart of the three main lifecycle steps is also included. Lifecycles are part of the standard curriculum in the early elementary grades, and this will be a welcome addition to school and public libraries, both for its informational value and as an easy reader. (Nonfiction/easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-15-216304-2

Page Count: 20

Publisher: Green Light/Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

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