This clever home-away-home arc with a “go with the flow” twist has the added bonus of motivating readers’ engagement.

BOB AND JOSS GET LOST!

Two friends rent a sailboat, get lost, become shipwrecked, and end up on a (seemingly) deserted beach.

Bob, a Type A personality, and Joss, a classic Type B, are friends (both are white). The book opens on a beach as Bob informs Joss that he is bored. Joss suggests renting a sailboat, but Bob is hesitant, afraid they will get lost. Joss assures him they won’t. Not only do they get lost, they encounter a storm, become shipwrecked, and finally wash up on a beach. Throughout it all, their overachiever-vs.–laid-back personality differences are what drive both the plot and the humor. After the shipwreck, Bob is all about responsibility and control as he builds a shelter and tries to make a fire, while Joss is all about being in the moment as he savors a coconut and listens to the waves. Vogel’s illustrations alternate between sequential panels that emphasize the droll dialogue exchanges and single- and double-page spreads that add both setting and emotional ambiance. GPS coordinates on each verso page add a clever tangential story, and motivated readers who plot them (easily done with a computer) will get a jump on the surprise ending (as will readers who explore the illustrations very closely).

This clever home-away-home arc with a “go with the flow” twist has the added bonus of motivating readers’ engagement. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-241531-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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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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A potential gift for fans of the contributors’ earlier work.

THIS BOOK IS NOT A PRESENT

A text-heavy, joke-filled monograph about a dreaded bestowal.

In this meta text, an unseen narrator gripes about everything they wish they had received as a present, including a dog and a skateboard. “Now I feel like I have to read it,” the narrator grumps about their book gift. In subsequent spreads, they express their frustration. Sensitive bibliophiles beware: The narrator is ruthless in their scorn of giving books as presents. Some may tire of the message, repeated page after page in different ways: “Look, I’m a doer, not a reader,” one page reads, accompanied by an image of a muscled arm. The narrator makes references to clogging the toilet with homemade slime (“I told them it most definitely wasn’t me”)—a moment that will appeal to older kids who can grasp and revel in the humor. Human skin is shown as printer paper white, tan, and blue. Layouts are boisterous yet uncluttered, using text in various sizes, colors, and fonts. Pleasant near-pastel yellow, blue, and purple back up goofy illustrations, sure to draw interest even if the quips go over younger kids’ heads. Some elements, like the desire to receive X-ray vision as a present, will resonate widely with the target audience, though the story largely treads similar ground as Greenfield and Lowery’s I Don’t Want To Read This Book (2021). (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A potential gift for fans of the contributors’ earlier work. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-46236-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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