Both amusing and instructive, with broad appeal and excellent illustrations.

LIMERICK COMICS

Collected limericks for children ages 8 to 12 humorously present factual tidbits from science and history with comic-book–style illustrations.

In his debut book, Hoyman combines two forms that kids love—limericks and comic books—to offer one-page lessons on various subjects. Five panels, one for each line of the limerick (sometimes with additional comments from characters in word balloons), are followed by a sixth with more information. The opening limerick, for example, concerns jesters: “The jester was called by the King, / To tell a few riddles and sing. / Instead of his shtick, / He “pigeoned” in sick, / And was exiled up north of Peking.” The jester can be seen telling the beginning of a joke (“Did you hear the one about the bubonic plague?”), juggling, sending a messenger pigeon to the king while enjoying a day off fishing, and finally being tossed over the Great Wall of China. The sixth panel explains how jesters entertained kings and noblemen and what “exile” means. Other topics, in no particular order, include animals, such as anglerfish and chimpanzees; history and culture, such as the Pony Express, lamplighters, and clowns; and inventions, such as concrete. A glossary is included. Hoyman’s limericks generally scan and rhyme well, and background information is always interesting. One entry, based on what may be a true story, introduces readers to Sadie “the Goat” Farrell, a Hudson River pirate known for head-butting people. She lost her left ear—bitten off, as the sixth panel explains, by Gallus Mag, a New York City tavern bouncer. Some limericks are gross, a few didactic, and many straightforwardly informational. No sources are provided for these facts, but they seem sound; “caveman,” however, is an obsolete term. Feldman (Noah Learns To Share, 2017, etc.) varies his panels in size and distance (wide, medium, and close-up shots), giving them depth with good shadowing and a rich palette. His human figures are diverse and somewhat stylized but show expression well.

Both amusing and instructive, with broad appeal and excellent illustrations.

Pub Date: March 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-73281-860-6

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Time Tunnel Media

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good...

THE CHRISTMAS SPRYTE ENCOUNTER

BAD BEHAVIOR

A cranky little girl changes her behavior after a warning from one of Santa’s helpers in this debut rhyming Christmas book.

With bushy red hair and freckles, the narrator—who appears to be age 5 or 6 in the cartoonish images—throws a tantrum to avoid going to the mall on Christmas Eve. But her scheme doesn’t work—and it lands her on Santa’s naughty list. Her grumpy antics are interrupted by Glynt P. Spryte, one of Santa’s Behavioral Elves. He’s been trying to subtly adjust her conduct for months. Now that her deeds have crossed the line, he is paying her a visit. Glynt’s dire warning (no toys!) and his lack of hope that her behavior can improve in time for Christmas give the narrator just the push she needs to clean up her act. “But the best part is this—I LIKE who I’ve become,” she says on the final pages. Crighton’s lines scan well in her series opener, using a vocabulary overly advanced for her narrator’s age. The rhyme scheme and rhythm are reminiscent of Clement Clarke Moore’s famous Christmas poem, though the obvious message may not enthrall mischievous young readers. Glynt is a fun invention: a combination of angry and sorrowful wrapped up in a cowboy outfit. But the uncredited illustrations don’t match the story’s description (he’s called “young” and “handsome” but appears with gray sideburns and a Santa-esque figure).

For families looking for a holiday adventure or parents hoping to improve a child’s behavior, this work may make a good addition to their collections.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-87-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: BookBlastPro Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

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Parents seeking ways to improve their children’s conduct around Christmas may find this a worthwhile tale.

THE CHRISTMAS SPRYTE ENCOUNTER

PACKAGE PEEKING

The Christmas sprytes return in this second rhyming lesson about proper holiday behavior.

Little Patrick has no qualms about pulling open packages left under the tree two weeks before Christmas. But the blond-haired, blue-eyed toddler is in for a surprise when Adam P. Bobby of the Peeking Police shows up in his Christmas tree. The spryte, also blond but green-eyed and slender with rosy cheeks and pointed ears, scolds the naughty child. If Patrick doesn’t change his ways, “a bundle of switches is your present this year,” the spryte asserts. As in Crighton’s (The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Bad Behavior, 2017) previous installment, Santa’s messenger waffles between sharp anger at the bad behavior and a sympathetic sadness at its consequences. Patrick asks for Adam’s advice and, with a salute, promises to never peek again. Meanwhile, the sprite uses his magic to rewrap all the presents Patrick attacked. While the rhymes throughout scan well, mimicking the rhythm to the classic The Night Before Christmas, the vocabulary may overwhelm young independent readers and lap listeners (“wrath,” “evoking,” “perturbed,” and “pursed” all appear on the same page). Audiences unfamiliar with what APB and bobby mean will miss the humor of Adam’s initials and the reference to London police officers. The uncredited cartoon illustrations nicely reflect the picture book’s text and tone.

Parents seeking ways to improve their children’s conduct around Christmas may find this a worthwhile tale.

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-64133-057-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: AuthorCentrix, Inc.

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2018

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