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OOPS, POUNCE, QUICK, RUN!

AN ALPHABET CAPER

Give this “alphabet caper” an F for Fun.

Leave it to a cartoonist (in this case, a regular contributor to the New Yorker) to cleverly create a picture book–length comic strip out of the alphabet.

A mouse is Asleep in a chair opposite a hole in the wall when a Ball bounces through the hole into his lap. Next, a Dog’s nose pokes through the hole followed by its Feet, and the chase is on! The mouse Jumps, hiding behind a curtain, but his tail gives him away: Oops! Will this end badly? No, the shrewd mouse gives the dog a wrapped present—a new ball. Each letter appears on one page, typically exemplified by just one word (exceptions are I’ll chase, To Dog, Living room, Very Cool) with the capital letter in a colorful type. The simple line drawings of the gray mouse and brown-eared, yellow-furred dog place the two characters front and center against the white backdrop, dramatizing the action and reactions. Some of the word choices are obvious, such as Pounce, Quick, Run, Wag, and only a few are unexpected: Missing, Nowhere, Unwrap, and Xoxo. Twohy could have gone the traditional route of portraying a cat-and-mouse adventure, but using a dog gives the romp relatively more energy and excitement.

Give this “alphabet caper” an F for Fun. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 16, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-237700-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2015

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PETE THE CAT'S 12 GROOVY DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among

Pete, the cat who couldn’t care less, celebrates Christmas with his inimitable lassitude.

If it weren’t part of the title and repeated on every other page, readers unfamiliar with Pete’s shtick might have a hard time arriving at “groovy” to describe his Christmas celebration, as the expressionless cat displays not a hint of groove in Dean’s now-trademark illustrations. Nor does Pete have a great sense of scansion: “On the first day of Christmas, / Pete gave to me… / A road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” The cat is shown at the wheel of a yellow microbus strung with garland and lights and with a star-topped tree tied to its roof. On the second day of Christmas Pete gives “me” (here depicted as a gray squirrel who gets on the bus) “2 fuzzy gloves, and a road trip to the sea. / GROOVY!” On the third day, he gives “me” (now a white cat who joins Pete and the squirrel) “3 yummy cupcakes,” etc. The “me” mentioned in the lyrics changes from day to day and gift to gift, with “4 far-out surfboards” (a frog), “5 onion rings” (crocodile), and “6 skateboards rolling” (a yellow bird that shares its skateboards with the white cat, the squirrel, the frog, and the crocodile while Pete drives on). Gifts and animals pile on until the microbus finally arrives at the seaside and readers are told yet again that it’s all “GROOVY!”

Pete’s fans might find it groovy; anyone else has plenty of other “12 Days of Christmas” variants to choose among . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-267527-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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LITTLE DAYMOND LEARNS TO EARN

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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