A zippy piece for readers who share Billy’s tastes.

BILLY'S BOOGER

A boy funnels enthusiasm for monster movies, outer space, and snot into making a picture book for a school contest.

Back “when TV was in black and white, and there were only three channels,” a kid named Billy revels in the newspaper’s “funny papers” and in turning the numerals on his math paper into dinosaurs. Unfortunately, his math gets failing grades because the actual answers are incorrect. Even sports and supper bring out Billy’s wild side: pingpong paddle in mouth, scuba flippers on feet, mashed-potato–and-peas sculptures on his plate. “Your son has been very odd as of late,” says a school note to his parents. Then the school librarian announces a book-making contest. Billy researches “meteors, mythology, space travel, and mucus” and produces Billy’s Booger: The memories of a little green nose buddy, in which a meteorite crashes into Billy’s head, causing the titular little green guy to emerge—“BONK!!”—and become “Super Booger,” who specializes in math. Billy becomes a superhero too, specializing in invisibility and turning peas into chocolate. Joyce re-creates Booger here from a real book he wrote in fourth grade, preserving its manila-paper look and binding it into the middle of this book. The portions before and after, in contrast, feature zestful collage overlappings and retro-style illustration that slyly evokes old-school primers.

A zippy piece for readers who share Billy’s tastes. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7351-5

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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THE GIRL WHO LOVED WILD HORSES

            There are many parallel legends – the seal women, for example, with their strange sad longings – but none is more direct than this American Indian story of a girl who is carried away in a horses’ stampede…to ride thenceforth by the side of a beautiful stallion who leads the wild horses.  The girl had always loved horses, and seemed to understand them “in a special way”; a year after her disappearance her people find her riding beside the stallion, calf in tow, and take her home despite his strong resistance.  But she is unhappy and returns to the stallion; after that, a beautiful mare is seen riding always beside him.  Goble tells the story soberly, allowing it to settle, to find its own level.  The illustrations are in the familiar striking Goble style, but softened out here and there with masses of flowers and foliage – suitable perhaps for the switch in subject matter from war to love, but we miss the spanking clean design of Custer’s Last Battle and The Fetterman Fight.          6-7

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1978

ISBN: 0689845049

Page Count: -

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1978

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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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