An artfully executed book with silly, absurdist humor that will electrify the imaginations of young readers.

The Rock and Roll Band in My Armpit

In the Tenglins’ debut book, illustrated by Stalker, offbeat tales of whimsical characters are told through goofy, rhythmic poetry and equally eccentric illustrations.

The authors, a brother and sister, explore imagined worlds through harebrained humor in stories featuring goofy, original characters, including a vegetarian lion, monster ballerinas and a breakfast-making robot. Each loosely rhyming, upbeat poem ends with an offbeat punch line: “I’ve really been way much too lenient / Allowing them to live here rent-free, / But if I kick them out, I haven’t a doubt / They’ll just move to the back of my knee.” Stalker’s brightly colored, detailed illustrations pop on otherwise clean, white pages. Their slight creepiness giddily calls to mind Ren & Stimpy, as do the at times slightly gross descriptions of “Goat Pizza” with “slimy brown banana peels” and “underpants with a mildew crust.” Sensitive parents of young readers might also beware of slightly morose tales, such as “Pool Party,” the story of a boy who accidentally jumps into a pack of cannibals’ soup. Other tales, though, such as “Band Aid,” about a girl anticipating the pain of an adhesive bandage’s removal who is pleasantly surprised by the painlessness of the actual experience, offer warmhearted lessons for young readers. Similarly, “Molly McBing, best on the swing” uses humor to tell a cautionary, well-intentioned tale about swing safety. “Elevator to the Moon” and “Watermelon Seed” are simple tales of childhood imagination, while other poems, especially “Nose Race” and “Chimp Removal,” are purely nonsensical and likely to get a laugh. Slight variations in the placement of illustrations on each page match the rhythm of the poems, while the simple, clean presentation and readable typeface allow the neat, meticulous design to balance the absurdity and goofiness of the content.

An artfully executed book with silly, absurdist humor that will electrify the imaginations of young readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9848951-1-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Cranial Egg

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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GOLDILOCKS AND THE THREE BEARS

With the same delightfully irreverent spirit that he brought to his retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood" (1987), Marshall enlivens another favorite. Although completely retold with his usual pungent wit and contemporary touches ("I don't mind if I do," says Goldilocks, as she tries out porridge, chair, and bed), Marshall retains the stories well-loved pattern, including Goldilocks escaping through the window (whereupon Baby Bear inquires, "Who was that little girl?"). The illustrations are fraught with delicious humor and detail: books that are stacked everywhere around the rather cluttered house, including some used in lieu of a missing leg for Papa Bear's chair; comically exaggerated beds—much too high at the head and the foot; and Baby Bear's wonderfully messy room, which certainly brings the story into the 20th century. Like its predecessor, perfect for several uses, from picture-book hour to beginning reading.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1988

ISBN: 0140563660

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1988

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