Snow’s vignettes of brutally dismembered sock puppets, plus a literally hellish plot twist toward the end, keep this satiric import afloat—just. After his moody, unstable father Frank is confined to a straitjacket after whipping out “his wrinkly old willy” to urinate on the puppets in a department-store window, young Jason Lurcher hears a voice from the attic: “Nixon the penguin must die!” Who is Nixon? The puppet that propelled Jason’s half-brother Barry to TV fame. And who’s talking? That would be Tolstoy, the foul-mouthed bat puppet that made Frank Lurcher’s name a household word years ago—before an ugly on-screen incident got them both kicked off the air. But if he can get Jason to dig him out of the trunk and stick a hand up his bum, Tolstoy plans a murderous comeback. So who’s really in charge? Any reader who knows actual puppeteers may already be wondering, and Magrs doesn’t do anything to clarify the issue—except to offer the climactic revelation that Frank, at least, had made a Deal with a certain subterranean gent. Casually savage, and a little slow off the mark, this isn’t going to draw a crowd of readers, but some might be amused. (Fiction. YA)

Pub Date: June 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-87019-1

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2004

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Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-689-82979-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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One of a four-book series designed to help the very young prepare for new siblings, this title presents a toddler-and-mother pair (the latter heavily pregnant) as they read about new babies, sort hand-me-downs, buy new toys, visit the obstetrician and the sonographer, speculate and wait. Throughout, the child asks questions and makes exclamations with complete enthusiasm: “How big is the baby? What does it eat? I felt it move! Is it a boy or girl?” Fuller’s jolly pictures present a biracial family that thoroughly enjoys every moment together. It’s a bit oversimplified, but no one can complain about the positive message it conveys, appropriately, to its baby and toddler audience. The other titles in the New Baby series are My New Baby (ISBN: 978-1-84643-276-7), Look at Me! (ISBN: 978-1-84643-278-1) and You and Me (ISBN: 978-1-84643-277-4). (Board book. 18 mos.-3)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-84643-275-0

Page Count: 12

Publisher: Child's Play

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2010

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