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TONY BALONEY by Pam Muñoz Ryan

TONY BALONEY

By Pam Muñoz Ryan (Author) , Edwin Fotheringham (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-23135-0
Publisher: Scholastic

Stuck between Big Sister and the Bothersome Babies, Tony Baloney the macaroni (penguin, that is) can’t help acting out sometimes—which leads to a fast getaway into the cardboard hidey-space in his room “for maybe a year, or maybe twenty minutes” with his best stuffed buddy, Dandelion, followed by a parental admonition to apologize nicely. The tale is told in the present tense in a collegial, adult voice that leaves plenty of room for subtext: “Tony Baloney tells Dandelion all of his woes. As usual, Dandelion is extremely understanding.” The versatile Fotheringham illustrates it with big cartoon scenes of stubby-beaked, shoe-wearing penguins in a comfy, cluttered domestic setting (the two binkie-sucking toddlers have particularly winning clueless looks). The episode will certainly evoke chords of recognition from middle children and their sibs (and parents) alike. So, “how long does it take for nicely to creep in?” Tony Baloney wonders; Dandelion (as superego) replies, “Maybe never, or in a little while. Just wait for it.” Sage advice well worth offering, as closing scenes of realistically uneasy sibling détente demonstrate. (Picture book. 5-8)