This terrific tater will appeal to plenty of tots.

READ REVIEW

SUPERTATO

Who rolls into action when an “escapee” from the freezer sets off an after-hours supermarket ruckus?

It’s all eyes on Supertato, racing to the rescue as someone swathes Cucumber in toilet paper, tapes Carrot to the conveyor belt with Band-Aids, and pushes hapless little veggies into a vat of gooey dip. Yes, there’s a pea on the loose—chortling evilly (“Mwah ha ha ha ha!”) and leading the intrepid tuber on a merry chase over darkened shelves that nearly sees the pursuer himself pulverized before the leering legume can be trapped in a wobbly gelatin dessert and led back to cold storage. Whew! Hendra and Linnet put googly-eyed faces on all the produce, outfit the two leads with masks and capes, and leave it to sharp-eyed viewers to spot the elusive trickster masquerading as a cherry atop a cupcake in one cartoon scene or in other concealment. The breathless, alliterative narrative eschews obvious puns (like that one), but Broccoli’s comment that “This jelly tastes of pea!” will elicit a gale of storytime snickers, and a suggestion to check freezers at home for signs of a similar “escapee” adds an equally chewy bit of wordplay to the end. The black type is occasionally set on deep blue backgrounds, making those blocks of text a challenge to read.

This terrific tater will appeal to plenty of tots. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9037-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2020

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In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read.

WEDGIEMAN

A HERO IS BORN

From the Adventures of Wedgieman series , Vol. 1

Captain Underpants he ain’t.

Although some may initially associate Harper and Shea’s beginning reader with Pilkey’s popular series, it falls short with a thin story and none of the master's clever sense of subversive, ribald humor. The titular hero starts as Veggiebaby, then becomes Veggieboy, then Veggieman, his growth and development attributed to his love of vegetables. He practices his superpowers as he grows, with text and art taking cheap shots at elderly women (as he lifts “a bus filled with chattering grandmas”) and overweight people (as his X-ray vision enables him to see into a house where a rotund man stands, embarrassed and clad only in his underwear: “Some things are better not seen.”) The book ends with Veggieman getting a new name from children who see a stick stuck to his shirt, making the V into a W, and dub him Wedgieman. “We don’t care about spelling,” they assure him when he objects that the word “wedgie” has a “d” and not a double “g.” His new name is sealed when (in an odd turn of events that is, sadly, characteristic of the poorly executed text) he gives himself a wedgie.

In what seems like a veritable golden age of beginning readers, perhaps some things are better not published. Or read. (Early reader. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-93071-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 9, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

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A serene, feel-good outing with a cozy, old-fashioned feel.

CHIRRI & CHIRRA

From the Chirri & Chirra series

In this Japanese import, the first in a long-running series to appear in English, two girls ride bikes through a forest—with stops for clover-blossom tea and jam sandwiches.

It’s such a benign wood that Chirri and Chirra—depicted as a prim pair of identical twins with straight bob cuts—think nothing of sharing both a lunch spot and a nap beneath a tree with a bear and a rabbit. Moreover, at convenient spots along the way there is a forest cafe with a fox waiter plus “tables and chairs of all different size” to accommodate the diverse forest clientele, a bakery offering “bread in all different shapes and jam in all different colors,” and, just as the sun goes down, a forest hotel with similarly diverse keys and doors. That night a forest concert draws the girls and the hotel’s animal guests to their balconies to join in: “La-la-la, La-la-la. What a wonderful night in the forest!” Despite heavy doses of cute, the episode is saved from utter sappiness by the inclusive spirit of the forest stops and the delightfully unforced way that the girls offer greetings to a pair of honeybees at a tiny adjacent table in the cafe, show no anxiety at the spider dangling above their napping place, and generally accept their harmonious sylvan world as a safe and friendly place. Doi creates her illustrations with colored pencil, pastel, and crayon, crafting them to look like mid-20th-century lithographs.

A serene, feel-good outing with a cozy, old-fashioned feel. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59270-199-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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