A school-to-screen fairy tale with little conflict or character development that’s enriched by the eye-catching cartoon...


This wordy debut picture book by Barto features veteran illustrator Cerato’s fantastic illustrations of ducks, chickens and turkeys searching for great new talents.

Young chick Anamazie Marie LaBelle is not just the youngest marching band majorette in Gobbleville history, she’s also a finalist in Gobbleville’s Got Talent. She participates in the finals with the help of her mother, Henrietta Pearl, whose interest in her daughter’s fame is as dramatic as one would expect from a participant on a reality show (and her musical education apparently derived from reality show sources, given her use of terms like “pitchy”). But despite her natural talents, Anamazie loses the competition to Edith Winkmeyer. Luckily, a Gollywood Pictures agent is more impressed with Anamazie’s performance, and she’s whisked off to a screen test. From there, it’s all smooth sailing. Anamazie rehearses her lines, dresses in costumes and learns how to work well with temperamental stars. (Her mother, still full of excitement and eager to interfere, has to be dragged off the sound stage by security roosters.) Of course, the little chicken is a hit, and she’s ready for more adventures by the end of her first movie. Anamazie is a perfect star, and her few flaws are easily forgiven, but it’s hard to imagine her actually striving for anything, despite her earnest statement: “My mom says you can do anything if you work hard and never give up.” The delightful illustrations, which add to the text’s poultry jokes, are sure to appeal to a young, lap-sitting crowd. Newly independent readers may struggle with the length, but the vocabulary is manageable and full of familiar, glamorous, Hollywood-type phrases (“Sweetheart, your co-star is getting his feathers ruffled when you back him out of the shot”).

A school-to-screen fairy tale with little conflict or character development that’s enriched by the eye-catching cartoon illustrations.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2014

ISBN: 978-1496935090

Page Count: 32

Publisher: AuthorHouse

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014

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Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit.


From the Who's in Your Book? series

Readers try to dislodge a monster from the pages of this emotive and interactive read-aloud.

“OH NO!” the story starts. “There’s a monster in your book!” The blue, round-headed monster with pink horns and a pink-tipped tail can be seen cheerfully munching on the opening page. “Let’s try to get him out,” declares the narrator. Readers are encouraged to shake, tilt, and spin the book around, while the monster careens around an empty background looking scared and lost. Viewers are exhorted to tickle the monster’s feet, blow on the page, and make a really loud noise. Finally, shockingly, it works: “Now he’s in your room!” But clearly a monster in your book is safer than a monster in your room, so he’s coaxed back into the illustrations and lulled to sleep, curled up under one page and cuddling a bit of another like a child with their blankie. The monster’s entirely cute appearance and clear emotional reactions to his treatment add to the interactive aspect, and some young readers might even resist the instructions to avoid hurting their new pal. Children will be brought along on the monster’s journey, going from excited, noisy, and wiggly to calm and steady (one can hope).

Playful, engaging, and full of opportunities for empathy—a raucous storytime hit. (Picture book. 2-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6456-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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A rollicking tale of rivalry.


Sweet Street had just one baker, Monsieur Oliphant, until two new confectionists move in, bringing a sugar rush of competition and customers.

First comes “Cookie Concocter par excellence” Mademoiselle Fee and then a pie maker, who opens “the divine Patisserie Clotilde!” With each new arrival to Sweet Street, rivalries mount and lines of hungry treat lovers lengthen. Children will delight in thinking about an abundance of gingerbread cookies, teetering, towering cakes, and blackbird pies. Wonderfully eccentric line-and-watercolor illustrations (with whites and marbled pastels like frosting) appeal too. Fine linework lends specificity to an off-kilter world in which buildings tilt at wacky angles and odd-looking (exclusively pale) people walk about, their pantaloons, ruffles, long torsos, and twiglike arms, legs, and fingers distinguishing them as wonderfully idiosyncratic. Rotund Monsieur Oliphant’s periwinkle complexion, flapping ears, and elongated nose make him look remarkably like an elephant while the women confectionists appear clownlike, with exaggerated lips, extravagantly lashed eyes, and voluminous clothes. French idioms surface intermittently, adding a certain je ne sais quoi. Embedded rhymes contribute to a bouncing, playful narrative too: “He layered them and cherried them and married people on them.” Tension builds as the cul de sac grows more congested with sweet-makers, competition, frustration, and customers. When the inevitable, fantastically messy food fight occurs, an observant child finds a sweet solution amid the delicious detritus.

A rollicking tale of rivalry. (Picture book. 4-8 )

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-91885-2

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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