Provides a unique twist on an age-old monster in a beautifully presented book; however, certain aspects might scare off...

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"You Can't Tickle Me!"

A young boy tries to outwit the enigmatic tickle monster in Bartlett’s playful debut picture book.

Mother and Father sit on the sofa reading a newspaper. The headline on the front page reads: “Monster Loose.” The parents scoff at the idea of such a creature, but their son decides to prove to them and everyone else that the tickle monster lives. The resourceful young lad sets off around the house with his arms curved like horns in a bid to scare off his foe. The tickle monster follows him up the stairs and into bed. At night, it wants to be seen, banging drums and balancing cups, vying for the boy’s attention, but during the day, the monster disappears. The youngster searches the kitchen, the library, the sunroom, but the monster hides behind curtains, between books, under beds, waiting for that moment when it can spring out and catch its prey. Intricately detailed pen-and-ink illustrations on vellum—depicting everything from floral wallpaper to stuffed owls—accompany the text. Only the boy and the monster bring color into the rooms, allowing the eye to follow the hide-and-seek games they play with each other. The monster, with its pointed claws and bulbous body, would fit neatly into a family of Maurice Sendak’s “wild things,” but a small child might find the thought of a monster in their house frightening. At the back of this fun tale, the author includes a detailed list of all the little things from his childhood that inspired him to create the story, and he encourages readers to return to the tale and rediscover them.

Provides a unique twist on an age-old monster in a beautifully presented book; however, certain aspects might scare off young children.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 47

Publisher: Over the Edge Studios

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2014

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Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs.

WRECKING BALL

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 14

The Heffley family’s house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement.

When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg’s mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family’s cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work’s been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school’s dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg’s mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn’t want to lose his best friend). While Greg’s positive about the move, he’s not completely uncaring about Rowley’s action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the “stress lizard” brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special–style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew.

Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3903-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2019

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DIARY OF A WIMPY KID

A NOVEL IN CARTOONS

From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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