RABBIT'S PAJAMA PARTY

PLB 0-06-027617-7 paper 0-06-446722-8 New to the MathStart series is this quick take on sequencing, although almost any story with a beginning, middle, and end would serve as well. A sleepover is the premise; Rabbit invites his friends Mouse, Giraffe, and Elephant to the party. The action is described in a few short rhyming sentences that outline the order of events. Friends are invited inside, a pizza dinner is gobbled up, juice follows dinner, and ice cream sundaes for dessert conclude the meal. At bedtime, the four friends pull on their pajamas and zip themselves into sleeping bags while Rabbit’s mother takes a picture. Hand shadows and scary stories come with lights out, until Mouse is heard snoring peacefully. Just when it appears that it may be a stretch to locate the math involved, a final page asks, “What Happened at Rabbit’s Pajama Party?” to prompt children to think about what happened first, next, and last. Although Remkiewicz wiggles out of showing “hot fudge” by present a bottle of chocolate syrup instead, no one will question the accuracy of his animals’ zeal; they are all smiles, delightfully displaying silly expressions. Characteristically, the final spread offers tips and suggestions for adults who may want to extend the sequencing concept with follow-up activities. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 1999

ISBN: 0-06-027616-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 1999

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OVERHEAD

Tennis pro, Vietnam vet, and intelligence operative Brad Smith, who first served in Dropshot (1990), quits an irritating job in Texas to head for Montana, where his unusual skills are needed to open a new tennis resort and locate a murderous nearby secret agent. Well, whom else would you call to clean out the spies plaguing a mysterious Air Force lab just a backhand away from a troubled tennis camp? The debt-ridden sports resort, just bought by Smith's old tennis and spying pal Ted Treacher, provides the perfect cover for Smith—the only tennis-playing spy in America capable of recognizing his old archenemy Sylvester, the Soviet spy responsible for the death of Smith's late Yugoslavian tennis- playing wife. Sylvester, operating with a completely new face fresh from the plastic surgeon, is in Big Sky country to snatch a bit of strategic-defense technology from the research lab whose powerful secret electromagnetic pulses have been giving the local children leukemia. Also neighboring the resort is a secret toxic- waste dump owned by a beautiful but ruthless capitalist hussy who wants to close down the country club so she can get her toxic wastes back. Smith has to sort out all these secrets while cleaning up the financial and managerial mess his chum has made of what should be a fabulous destination for rich tennis players. Sylvester shoots at him, a sadistic deputy shoots at him, and Ivan Lendl shoots at him. Bodies pop out of the golf course. Credibility crushed in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, 6-1.

Pub Date: June 20, 1991

ISBN: 0-312-85143-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Tor

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1991

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It’s all meant to be self-consciously amusing, but much of the humor is tedious, and quirks stand in for character.

OVENMAN

A novel of pizza parlors, skateboarding, tattoos and piercings—needless to say, it’s a portrait of the ’90s.

Narrator When Thinfinger is the eponymous character. He’s a denizen of Florida, lover of Marigold, friend of Blaise and aficionado of skateboards and street bikes, his favorite being a “Haro with the kinky triangular frame.” Although he’s recently lost his job as pit cook at Ken’s Barbie-Q, life is looking up when he finds a position as Ovenman at Piecemeal Pizza By The Slice, a microcosm of the weird subculture When inhabits. This is the kind of place where people are identified by their social or culinary functions rather than by their names—or rather, their function becomes their names: Thin Pie Guy, Pasta Dude, Front Girl, Salad Bitch. Ovenman literally makes notes of things (“Pizza is Power”; “I am Ovenman”) all on post-its that he puts on whatever surface is available, including his body. The plot is episodic: Marigold breaks her back trying a maneuver on a bike (at Ovenman’s behest); Ovenman tries to get away with whatever funds he can embezzle from Piecemeal; Ovenman gets pierced against his will in the most painful place imaginable at Second Skin Piercing; Ovenman seeks out his “biodad” in Ohio for an abortive homecoming. Ovenman tends to simplify life to conform to his self-acknowledged limitations. When he sets a lock combination, for example, it must be 23-3-7 because it’s the only one he can remember. (It spells “beer” on a telephone.) He describes a shirt as having a smell of “total MoonPie wrapper.” In a spasm of insight toward the end of the novel, Ovenman exclaims: “Suddenly I am risking my job, the only real connection I have to anything in this life.” At least here he acknowledges that the stakes are fairly high.

It’s all meant to be self-consciously amusing, but much of the humor is tedious, and quirks stand in for character.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-9776989-2-9

Page Count: 264

Publisher: Tin House

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2007

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