ARTICHOKE BOY

Mickelson takes a bold stab at trying to make the artichoke an object of amusement, but as vegetables go, the spiny globe is more strange than humorous. And the same goes for Artichoke Boy, who looks less comical than plain gaga. The simple, rhymed text (there is no actual story, just artichokes in strange circumstances) tells readers that he has artichoke fingers, ears, nose, elbows and knees, though only on the page with the corresponding snippet of rhyme, and never again. He is not so much Artichoke Boy as Boy with Artichoke Obsession: He sleds on an artichoke leaf and has an artichoke fish; he has an artichoke toothbrush and takes artichoke baths. Halfway through, the artichoke joke flags, both text and artwork, which is a mixed-media collage of artichoke photographs shaped and applied to fields of color on which sport Jules Feiffer–ish characters. The artwork has moments: Those artichoke knees are droll, though not so the artichoke simply plopped in the fish tank. Artichoke Boy’s joy in artichokes seems more a clinical issue than it is a bit of tomfool fun. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59078-605-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2008

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SEE PIP POINT

From the Adventures of Otto series

In his third beginning reader about Otto the robot, Milgrim (See Otto, 2002, etc.) introduces another new friend for Otto, a little mouse named Pip. The simple plot involves a large balloon that Otto kindly shares with Pip after the mouse has a rather funny pointing attack. (Pip seems to be in that I-point-and-I-want-it phase common with one-year-olds.) The big purple balloon is large enough to carry Pip up and away over the clouds, until Pip runs into Zee the bee. (“Oops, there goes Pip.”) Otto flies a plane up to rescue Pip (“Hurry, Otto, Hurry”), but they crash (and splash) in front of some hippos with another big balloon, and the story ends as it begins, with a droll “See Pip point.” Milgrim again succeeds in the difficult challenge of creating a real, funny story with just a few simple words. His illustrations utilize lots of motion and basic geometric shapes with heavy black outlines, all against pastel backgrounds with text set in an extra-large typeface. Emergent readers will like the humor in little Pip’s pointed requests, and more engaging adventures for Otto and Pip will be welcome additions to the limited selection of funny stories for children just beginning to read. (Easy reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2003

ISBN: 0-689-85116-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2003

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NOT A BOX

Dedicated “to children everywhere sitting in cardboard boxes,” this elemental debut depicts a bunny with big, looping ears demonstrating to a rather thick, unseen questioner (“Are you still standing around in that box?”) that what might look like an ordinary carton is actually a race car, a mountain, a burning building, a spaceship or anything else the imagination might dream up. Portis pairs each question and increasingly emphatic response with a playscape of Crockett Johnson–style simplicity, digitally drawn with single red and black lines against generally pale color fields. Appropriately bound in brown paper, this makes its profound point more directly than such like-themed tales as Marisabina Russo’s Big Brown Box (2000) or Dana Kessimakis Smith’s Brave Spaceboy (2005). (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-112322-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2006

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