SLIM AND JIM

Channeling Aesop through Charles Dickens, Egielski (Locust Pocus! A Book To Bug You, 2001, etc.) brings together two yo-yo–wielding urban rodents from different walks of life, and pits them against a gloriously piratical feline hoodlum. Slim, an orphaned rat living on the mean streets, meets Jim, a mouse from a well-off family, on a rooftop. Together, the two foil a jewel heist contrived by Buster, the one-eyed cat; fall into the river, where Slim saves Jim; and meet a frog that drives them to Jim’s home. As they grow up together, they share yo-yo tricks—a rock the baby, a rock the baby and then throw it out of its cradle, and a rock the alien baby on the launchpad—and see their friendship survive a tough test, eventually growing up to become professional yo-yo stars. The Caldecott Medalist has outdone himself in the art, depicting expressions, body language, and details of the narrow-laned streetscapes with even more lapidary precision than usual. He clothes his all-animal cast in mix-and-match articles from the past two centuries of fashion and captures in subtle ways the loyalty that cements this unlikely interspecies friendship. A heavily battered typeface adds to the generally raffish air of this droll, action-packed (and very silly) modern fable. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-06-028352-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2002

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THE RECESS QUEEN

Positing that bullies only act that way because they’re lonely, O’Neill (Loud Emily, 1998) puts seemingly meek, new classmate Katie Sue up against aggressive Mean Jean, swaggering boss of the playground. Knowing but one way to deal with challengers (“she’d push ’em and smoosh ’em, / lollapaloosh ’em, / hammer ’em, slammer ’em, / kitz and kajammer ’em . . .”), Mean Jean roughly tries to set Katie Sue straight on the pecking order. But Katie Sue stands up to her with a cheeky, “How DID you get to be so bossy?” and pulls out a jump rope, inviting Mean Jean to jump along. Presto change-o, a friendship is born. Huliska-Beith’s (The Book of Bad Ideas, 2000, etc.) rubbery-limbed figures, rolling perspectives, and neon-bright colors reflect the text’s informality as well as its frenzied energy. Though the suggested strategy works far more easily here than it would in real life, young readers will be caught up by Katie Sue’s engaging, fizzy exuberance. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-439-20637-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2001

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DAVID GOES TO SCHOOL

The poster boy for relentless mischief-makers everywhere, first encountered in No, David! (1998), gives his weary mother a rest by going to school. Naturally, he’s tardy, and that’s but the first in a long string of offenses—“Sit down, David! Keep your hands to yourself! PAY ATTENTION!”—that culminates in an afterschool stint. Children will, of course, recognize every line of the text and every one of David’s moves, and although he doesn’t exhibit the larger- than-life quality that made him a tall-tale anti-hero in his first appearance, his round-headed, gap-toothed enthusiasm is still endearing. For all his disruptive behavior, he shows not a trace of malice, and it’ll be easy for readers to want to encourage his further exploits. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-48087-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1999

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