BIRDBRAIN AMOS, MR. FUN

In this sequel to Birdbrain Amos (2002), the big hippopotamus has nothing to do and feels dejected because his tick bird, Amoeba, has a new friend—but it turns out, she’s imaginary. Ready to swim anywhere to retrieve Amoeba’s affection, Amos starts off on a river trip to the Serengeti to prove he’s Mr. Fun, with the tick bird’s nest on top of his head occupied by Amoeba and her tick family, plus the invisible Nungwe. Of course, things go awry when encounters with other African animals and birds steer Amos the wrong way, right into a series of rapids. Maybe he is Mr. Fun. The constant Abbot and Costello–like banter becomes tedious despite the droll black-and-white drawings that add visual comic relief to this goofy hippo with his tick bird entourage. Overall, the title and cover are signposts of the silliness, but the coarse paper is uninviting. For those who chuckled over the first, here’s a Birdbrain encore. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24278-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure.

THE PIRATE PIG

It’s not truffles but doubloons that tickle this porcine wayfarer’s fancy.

Funke and Meyer make another foray into chapter-book fare after Emma and the Blue Genie (2014). Here, mariner Stout Sam and deckhand Pip eke out a comfortable existence on Butterfly Island ferrying cargo to and fro. Life is good, but it takes an unexpected turn when a barrel washes ashore containing a pig with a skull-and-crossbones pendant around her neck. It soon becomes clear that this little piggy, dubbed Julie, has the ability to sniff out treasure—lots of it—in the sea. The duo is pleased with her skills, but pride goeth before the hog. Stout Sam hands out some baubles to the local children, and his largess attracts the unwanted attention of Barracuda Bill and his nasty minions. Now they’ve pignapped Julie, and it’s up to the intrepid sailors to save the porker and their own bacon. The succinct word count meets the needs of kids looking for early adventure fare. The tale is slight, bouncy, and amusing, though Julie is never the piratical buccaneer the book’s cover seems to suggest. Meanwhile, Meyer’s cheery watercolors are as comfortable diagramming the different parts of a pirate vessel as they are rendering the dread pirate captain himself.

A nifty high-seas caper for chapter-book readers with a love of adventure and a yearning for treasure. (Adventure. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 23, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-37544-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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