It’s not hard to imagine that the Grimms are rolling over in their graves—with laughter.

FAIRY TALES FROM THE BROTHERS GRIMM

From the Muppets Meet the Classics series

The Muppets take on the tales of the Brothers Grimm

Cast members of the original Muppet Show, from the stars to the obscure, run around in the prologue getting ready for a performance, much as they did on television in the 1970s. Miss Piggy demands a private dressing room. Gonzo crashes through the ceiling. Kermit and Scooter rush around helping and controlling. What follows when the curtain rises are 18 fractured fairy tales (and these are compound fractures). Fozzie stars in a gender-flipped “Little Red-Cap” called “Not-So-Little Red Cap,” his bad jokes well-represented. Miss Piggy is the put-upon daughter of the miller who must spin straw into gold for a greedy king (Dr. Teeth—three guesses where the gold will go) in “Unclestiltskin.” Janice makes a most excellent Rapunzel, and Kermit (of course) a chipper frog prince. Humor both wry and broad is in abundance, and there are plenty of one-liners aimed at adults, making this a nifty collection of stories to read together. Genially foolish illustrations precede every tale, and the original tale titles appear under the Muppetized ones.

It’s not hard to imagine that the Grimms are rolling over in their graves—with laughter. (Fiction. 5-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-53438-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education.

IF I BUILT A SCHOOL

A young visionary describes his ideal school: “Perfectly planned and impeccably clean. / On a scale, 1 to 10, it’s more like 15!”

In keeping with the self-indulgently fanciful lines of If I Built a Car (2005) and If I Built a House (2012), young Jack outlines in Seussian rhyme a shiny, bright, futuristic facility in which students are swept to open-roofed classes in clear tubes, there are no tests but lots of field trips, and art, music, and science are afterthoughts next to the huge and awesome gym, playground, and lunchroom. A robot and lots of cute puppies (including one in a wheeled cart) greet students at the door, robotically made-to-order lunches range from “PB & jelly to squid, lightly seared,” and the library’s books are all animated popups rather than the “everyday regular” sorts. There are no guards to be seen in the spacious hallways—hardly any adults at all, come to that—and the sparse coed student body features light- and dark-skinned figures in roughly equal numbers, a few with Asian features, and one in a wheelchair. Aside from the lack of restrooms, it seems an idyllic environment—at least for dog-loving children who prefer sports and play over quieter pursuits.

An all-day sugar rush, putting the “fun” back into, er, education. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 13, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55291-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the...

STINK AND THE MIDNIGHT ZOMBIE WALK

From the Stink series

An all-zombie-all-the-time zombiefest, featuring a bunch of grade-school kids, including protagonist Stink and his happy comrades.

This story covers the few days preceding the much-anticipated Midnight Zombie Walk, when Stink and company will take to the streets in the time-honored stiff-armed, stiff-legged fashion. McDonald signals her intent on page one: “Stink and Webster were playing Attack of the Knitting Needle Zombies when Fred Zombie’s eye fell off and rolled across the floor.” The farce is as broad as the Atlantic, with enough spookiness just below the surface to provide the all-important shivers. Accompanied by Reynolds’ drawings—dozens of scene-setting gems with good, creepy living dead—McDonald shapes chapters around zombie motifs: making zombie costumes, eating zombie fare at school, reading zombie books each other to reach the one-million-minutes-of-reading challenge. When the zombie walk happens, it delivers solid zombie awfulness. McDonald’s feel-good tone is deeply encouraging for readers to get up and do this for themselves because it looks like so much darned fun, while the sub-message—that reading grows “strong hearts and minds,” as well as teeth and bones—is enough of a vital interest to the story line to be taken at face value.

Pub Date: March 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5692-8

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2012

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