A gardening hullaballoo that uses its cacophony of chaos to an infinitely amusing end.

A RUCKUS IN THE GARDEN

From the Adventures of Pettson and Findus series

It’s man (and cat!) vs. nature, with a distinct Swedish twist.

On a lovely spring morning old Pettson proposes a garden to his cat, Findus, who wears a beanie and overalls. They proceed to plant it that very day, and at first all is well. Then come Pettson’s chickens, ravenous for the worms that might be lurking beneath the soil. Once they have been contained, Pettson and Findus try planting a potato patch. That’s dug up by a neighbor’s escaped pig. A third planting is trampled most effectively by a neighbor’s cows. It finally takes the quick mind of Pettson and a paper bag to put things right. First published in Sweden in 1990, this text-heavy tale comforts readers even as Pettson’s frustration reaches a fever pitch. The charm of the writing has much to recommend it, but it’s the art that is the true star of the show. No matter how raucous or riotous Nordqvist’s illustrations become, there’s still room to include little Zen details, such as the chicken with its comb in a single hair roller or a pair of pups in a tree staring lovingly at the moon. Pettson and other humans appear to be white.

A gardening hullaballoo that uses its cacophony of chaos to an infinitely amusing end. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7358-4311-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NorthSouth

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories.

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CREEPY CARROTS!

Kids know vegetables can be scary, but rarely are edible roots out to get someone. In this whimsical mock-horror tale, carrots nearly frighten the whiskers off Jasper Rabbit, an interloper at Crackenhopper Field.

Jasper loves carrots, especially those “free for the taking.” He pulls some in the morning, yanks out a few in the afternoon, and comes again at night to rip out more. Reynolds builds delicious suspense with succinct language that allows understatements to be fully exploited in Brown’s hilarious illustrations. The cartoon pictures, executed in pencil and then digitally colored, are in various shades of gray and serve as a perfectly gloomy backdrop for the vegetables’ eerie orange on each page. “Jasper couldn’t get enough carrots … / … until they started following him.” The plot intensifies as Jasper not only begins to hear the veggies nearby, but also begins to see them everywhere. Initially, young readers will wonder if this is all a product of Jasper’s imagination. Was it a few snarling carrots or just some bathing items peeking out from behind the shower curtain? The ending truly satisfies both readers and the book’s characters alike. And a lesson on greed goes down like honey instead of a forkful of spinach.

Serve this superbly designed title to all who relish slightly scary stories. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4424-0297-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2012

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WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

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