Droll invitations to craft silly verse, though somewhat constrained in creative scope as the examplars are all written on...

TOPSY TURVY OCEAN

A set of unabashedly surreal marine mix-ups designed to inspire young rhymesters.

Rhymes—not always exact ones—definitely trump logic as well as metrical regularity in these boisterous quatrains. Plunging in without preamble, Magee opens with an octopus who “likes / to cook and trot, / but its tentacles are / tied up in knots!” He then goes on to introduce a variety of oddly occupied sea and land animals, along with King Neptune (brown of skin in Tucker’s appropriately uproarious illustrations) wearing “a fried egg for a crown.” Gaggles of diversely hued mermaid shoppers, purple-winged sirens, and half-human sea horses follow, in settings ranging from a sunken ship with a treasure of “elephants, emus, and eyes!” to a submerged street scene featuring anglerfish wearing “false teeth and lipstick / when out for the night.” The co-published Topsy Turvy Animals features like rhyme-driven randomness in a series of likewise colorful but land-based hullaballoos. Both outings close with general suggestions for getting children to craft poems, and perhaps pictures, of their own.

Droll invitations to craft silly verse, though somewhat constrained in creative scope as the examplars are all written on the same template. (Picture book/poetry. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-60992-999-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: QEB Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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