THE CAT'S PAJAMAS

Who hasn't used a phrase like "cool your heels" or "it's a piece of cake"? This book cleverly interprets 26 idioms with meticulous paintings (akin in detail to Graeme Base's). "As judge of the Tiny Tot Talent Contest, Leon had to face the music," is depicted with an image of a chipmunk tooting a horn at point-blank range in a lion's face, blowing his mane violently back. For "using your noodle," a panda plays a violin with a strand of spaghetti instead of a bow. In a moment of pure genius, Hammy the pig whoops with delight in the front seat of the Happy Hurler roller coaster, clearly having much more fun than the barrel of monkeys in the seat behind. All of the images use animals and birds to illustrate the phrases, and a page of definitions appears in the back. Each scene has multiple references, double entendres and a hidden cat (but no legend). Language and art teachers should have a field day with this. Though some expressions are more successful than others, it is indeed the cat's pajamas. (Picture book. 5 & up)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-55453-308-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2010

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Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you

THE THANK YOU BOOK

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Piggie is “one lucky pig,” and she’s determined to make sure she thanks “everyone who is important to” her in this, the final Elephant & Piggie book.

Gerald is sure his friend will forget someone—“someone important”—but Piggie assures him, “It will be a THANK-O-RAMA!” Piggie proceeds to thank the Squirrels for their great ideas, Snake for playing ball, and the Pigeon “for never giving up.” Piggie thanks and thanks: “I am a thanking machine!” She thanks character after character, even the Flies (“Any time, dude!”), as Gerald continues to interject that she’ll forget “someone VERY important.” Finally Piggie runs out of thanks, and by this time Gerald is steamed. “I goofed,” Piggie says in itty-bitty type, before lavishing thanks on Gerald. But that’s not whom Piggie forgot to thank! A classic Willems tantrum later, Gerald reveals the “someone important”: “Our reader.” Of course. “We could not be ‘us’ without you,” says Gerald, earnestly looking out from the page, and Piggie chimes in, “You are the best!” As Elephant & Piggie books go, this isn’t one of the strongest, but it is a validating valediction to fans of the two characters, who have won Willems two Geisel Medals and five Honors. Yes, Gerald and Piggie have ushered countless readers into literacy, but as they rightly note, reading is a collaborative act.

Thank you, Gerald and Piggie. We’ll miss you . (Early reader. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 3, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7828-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2016

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A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet’s work and such classics as There’s a Monster at the End of This Book

THE SCARIEST BOOK EVER

Shea’s ghost is too scared to leave the house and venture into the scary forest. But readers can go see what it’s like and come back and tell it all about it.

The fourth wall is so broken it doesn’t even exist in this tale. On the first text page, the ghost points out the scary woods a few pages back and then says, “Hope I don’t spill this orange juice on my nice white— / Whoops!” The ghost is “naked” for the rest of the book, perhaps purposefully, but no matter. It stays home to clean the toilet and eat too many doughnuts while trying to convince readers to keep it company. But every other double-page spread reveals what they see when they venture out to see what the forest creatures are up to. The dark, scary hole disgorges a rabbit who delivers party invitations to a bird, an alligator, a beaver, a bear, and a sentient stump (the pumpkins also have legs and faces). They gather to do some crafts, eat some cupcakes, and pick pumpkins before scaring the ghost, who has finally been convinced by readers that it’s safe to venture out. Shea’s Warhol-esque illustrations in orange, blue, yellow, and pink pop off the pages, and his characters appear inspired by Japanese cartoons.

A delight for kids who have graduated from Hervé Tullet’s work and such classics as There’s a Monster at the End of This Book . (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: July 18, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3046-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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