Ryan and Fotheringham once again nail the early-elementary mindset, this time looking at Halloween costumes through Tony Baloney’s eyes.
This year, the macaroni penguin wants to stand out at the school’s Halloween parade, rather than wearing a hand-me-down costume or matching the Bothersome Babies Baloney, so he uses all his savings to purchase an epic pre-made pirate costume. He loves it so much that “he wears it a few minutes a day, or every second of all weekend,” despite his family’s warnings. And sure enough….The pants rip while playing soccer, the hat he left out gets used as a sled by the Bothersome Babies, the sword is confiscated at school, he leaves the eye patch and the parrot (whom stuffed-animal Dandelion wants to marry) at the dentist’s, and the hook gets run over by the garbage truck. When he tells his family, he expects a well-deserved “I told you so,” but instead he gets a parley and a rallying. Each family member contributes items for a new pirate costume; even Dandelion has a part to play. And Tony definitely stands out. Fotheringham’s digital vignettes and double-page spreads are filled with bold primary colors against white backgrounds, making it easy for newly independent readers to handle the text.
It is oh-so-easy for readers to get caught up in both Tony’s infectious excitement and his terrible woes; this should be necessary reading before making costume decisions. (Early reader. 5-8)