DON'T GO NEAR THAT RABBIT, FRANK!

A homespun story from Conrad (This Mess, p. 400, etc.), billed as a retelling of a campfire favorite. The single problem that forms the plot is Old Man Hoover’s prize rabbit. When Philip and his sister Kooch move into the neighborhood that was once Old Man Hoover’s potato field with their new puppy, Frank, he makes his message loud and clear from the start, “If that dog comes anywhere near my prize rabbit, I’ll load my rifle and shoot him dead.” His words reverberate in the children’s minds as Frank becomes a full-grown dog. Then one rainy night, Frank appears with a muddy, rain-soaked rabbit in his teeth. Philip, despite Kooch’s hesitation, shampoos and blow-dries the rabbit, and surreptitiously slips it back into its hutch; in a predictable, yet satisfying ending, Old Man Hoover, certain he had already buried his dead rabbit, puzzles over how his prize pet could have returned to its hutch. The children laugh at hearing about the dilemma; nothing is made of the potential spookiness of a dead rabbit’s returning to its hutch, and Old Man Hoover, as far as readers know, is never enlightened. Interspersed among every short episode are full-color pictures, more dark and dreamlike than real, with the feeling of faded wallpaper, adding mood if not mystery. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 1998

ISBN: 0-06-021514-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1998

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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BUBBA, THE COWBOY PRINCE

A FRACTURED TEXAS TALE

A Cinderella parody features the off-the-wall, whang-dang Texas hyperbole of Ketteman (The Year of No More Corn, 1993, etc.) and the insouciance of Warhola, who proves himself only too capable of creating a fairy godcow; that she's so appealingly whimsical makes it easy to accept the classic tale's inversions. The protagonist is Bubba, appropriately downtrodden and overworked by his wicked stepdaddy and loathsome brothers Dwayne and Milton, who spend their days bossing him around. The other half of the happy couple is Miz Lurleen, who owns ``the biggest spread west of the Brazos.'' She craves male companionship to help her work the place, ``and it wouldn't hurt if he was cute as a cow's ear, either.'' There are no surprises in this version except in the hilarious way the premise plays itself out and in Warhola's delightful visual surprises. When Lurleen tracks the bootless Bubba down, ``Dwayne and Milton and their wicked daddy threw chicken fits.'' Bubba and babe, hair as big as a Texas sun, ride off to a life of happy ranching, and readers will be proud to have been along for the courtship. (Picture book/folklore. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-590-25506-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1997

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