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

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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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Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow,...

MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Can Gerald and Piggie’s friendship withstand the friendly overtures of Brian Bat?

When Snake informs Gerald that Piggie is playing with Brian Bat, he is at first complacent. Brian is “nice,” he observes; Snake concurs—after all, he says, “Brian is my Best Friend!” Their mutual reflection that Piggie and Brian “must be having a super-duper fun time!” turns, however, to paranoia when they realize that if their best pals “are having that much fun together, then… / …maybe they do not need us” (that last is printed in teeny-tiny, utterly demoralized type). Gerald and Snake dash/slither to put an end to the fun. Their fears are confirmed when the two new buddies tell them they have “been playing BEST FRIEND GAMES!”—which, it turns out, means making drawings of their respective best friends, Gerald and Snake. Awww. While the buildup to the friends’ confrontation is characteristically funny, there’s a certain feeling of anticlimax to the story’s resolution. How many young children, when playing with a new friend, are likely to spend their time thinking of the friends that they are not playing with? This is unfortunate, as the emotions that Gerald and Snake experience are realistic and profound, deserving of more than a platitudinous, unrealistic response.

Everything that readers have come to love about the Elephant & Piggie books is present—masterful pacing, easy-to-follow, color-coded speech bubbles, hilarious body language—except an emotionally satisfying ending. (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-7958-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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A loving tribute to problem-solvers, quarrel menders, and peacemakers.

THE LONELY MAILMAN

From the Whispers in the Forest series

A solitary mail carrier brings more than just letters to a forest community.

From early morning to shadowy twilight, an aging, bespectacled letter carrier—depicted in Montero Galán’s forest scenes as a portly, uniformed badger on a bike—quietly delivers to the forest’s burrows, dens, and nests. The notes—all typed and printed in boxes to separate them from the narrative text—offer complaints, apologies, reconciliations, or offers of friendship between animal neighbors. Hedgehog apologizes to Squirrel for an accidental jab, and Squirrel suggests in return having dinner together and a nice chat; Woodpecker’s tapping keeps Dormouse up, and Woodpecker replies with a promise to find another tree; Rabbit would love to join Bear in the pond but is afraid of water, so Bear offers a back to climb on, “just as if I were a big old boat.” At day’s end the weary letter carrier goes home…to spend the evening typing out the very letters he’s delivering. Then one day he finds a letter in his bag addressed to him. It’s a thank-you note from the animals, who follow it up by gathering that night to heap him with appreciation. Emotionally, Montero Galán begins the letter carrier’s tale with an orangey-red dawn and ends with a rosy-red candlelit scene. Although daytime scenes are dominated by blue skies and green grass, the artist unifies the palette throughout with such touches as the red wings of butterflies and red, autumnal leaves on the trees. The effect is to suffuse the pages with warmth.

A loving tribute to problem-solvers, quarrel menders, and peacemakers. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-84-16147-98-4

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Cuento de Luz

Review Posted Online: Feb. 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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