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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A good idea for a kids’ book, but the large amount of text may be overwhelming for a very young audience.

GRANDPA, I'M AFRAID

A children’s picture book that also functions as an adult guide for soothing children’s fears.

Grams (The Failed Experiment, 2018), a former high school economics teacher, unusually opens this picture book with an unillustrated, three-page introduction instructing adults on ways to help young children work through typical anxieties. The stories that follow read like mini-plays, featuring dialogue between the author and his granddaughter. Each tale covers a single fear and is divided into two pages: one for text, and the other for illustration. The 10 stories are rather text-heavy, and the dialogue format may make them awkward for solo reading by a beginner. As a result, adults might want to consider breaking the book into a number of read-aloud sessions, with each one covering one or two fears in a sitting, including additional discussion. Young children will likely enjoy the colorful pen-and-ink art by debut illustrator German, Grams’ granddaughter, whose work shows the promise of great skill to come; in “Monsters under the Bed,” for example, she ably illustrates a girl’s anxiety and a grandfather’s surprise as red, blue, and purple clawed sea creatures invade the youngster’s bedroom.

A good idea for a kids’ book, but the large amount of text may be overwhelming for a very young audience.

Pub Date: May 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984526-07-6

Page Count: 26

Publisher: XlibrisUS

Review Posted Online: Nov. 29, 2018

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A book with solid rhymes and appropriately challenging vocabulary for elementary school readers.

THE CHRISTMAS SPRYTE ENCOUNTER

SECOND CHANCE

In Crighton’s (The Christmas Spryte Encounter: Picture with Santa, 2018, etc.) latest picture book, an elf gives a boy a second chance to be kind to his younger sibling—and believe in Christmas magic.

The unnamed narrator, a brown-haired, brown-skinned 9-year-old, is crushed when his friends say that Santa isn’t real. In his frustration, he feels like being mean and telling his much younger brother what he heard; then something—a bug?—zooms into his ear, and a small voice scolds him for almost ruining his brother’s Christmas. The “bug” is actually a flame-decaled ATV on skis with a tiny, helmeted driver: Abe, a pink-haired, female “spryte.” Her message—“When YOU’RE good to others, you feel good yourself”—is an excellent one. Her pep talk inspires the narrator to be a good brother and restores his belief in Santa. All the fuss over Abe’s gender seems unnecessary, but the core message about making choices to be kind rings true. The cartoonish illustrations don’t always match the text; Abe shows a business card that reads “Abigale ‘Abe’ J. Vroom,” but the narrator is later surprised that she’s female—and isn’t her middle initial supposed to be “T.”? However, the bright colors and cool ATV will appeal to kids.

A book with solid rhymes and appropriately challenging vocabulary for elementary school readers.

Pub Date: June 23, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947352-16-2

Page Count: 28

Publisher: AuthorCentrix, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2018

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