No snake oil here—just great fun.

HORNSWOGGLED!

A WACKY WORDS WHODUNIT

Absurd words have a field day.

Deer wakes one day to discover that one of his antlers is missing—and has been replaced by a tennis racket. He’s been “hornswoggled!” He seeks aid from Catfish, who reaches for her glasses to better see what’s happening—and in turn finds that they’ve been replaced by two doughnuts (with sprinkles). “What a load of codswallop!” The pair troops over to other pals, all of whom discover to their annoyance that their belongings have also been stolen and replaced with nonsensical items. Each friend declares itself the victim of “poppycock,” “hogwash,” “horsefeathers,” and other dastardly offenses. When a skunk detective with a Belgian accent offers help but realizes his deerstalker has been replaced by a slice of pie, frenetic scurrying about ensues—until the culprit and purloined items are located. The thief has the effrontery to boast of her skill at fooling everyone, but there’s one final trick to be played….Kids will savor the silliness of this vocabulary-boosting treat, love rolling their tongues around goodies like bamboozled, and look for opportunities to use them. The targeted fun words are printed in boldface throughout and defined via explanatory signs (held up by an armadillo) on the pages where they occur or nearby. Some unfamiliar words or phrases go unexplained but should be understood through context. Droll cartoon illustrations match the expressive animal characters’ comic shenanigans.

No snake oil here—just great fun. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64567-284-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: Aug. 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

BAD KITTY GETS A PHONE (GRAPHIC NOVEL)

A craving for the latest tech leads to cat-astrophe in this new addition to the Bad Kitty series.

With her heart set on owning a cellphone, anthropomorphic house cat Kitty plows through three solid months of chores without complaining before her owners reluctantly grant her fervent wish. Then things go rapidly downhill. She becomes obsessed with violent mobile games, gets catfished (no pun intended), divulges too much personal information online, becomes consumed with rage at cyberbullies, and grows listless from excessive screen time. Only after the intervention of a Sphynx cat named Strange Kitty and a monthlong technology fast enforced by her owners does Kitty come to understand that while smartphones are fun, they can also be a serious distraction from real life and true friends. Using a digestible graphic-novel format, the book tackles internet safety and digital media literacy with purr-fect aplomb. The “Uncle Murray’s Fun Facts” section serves as a deep dive into the differences between facts and opinions, and many of Kitty’s quirky feline behaviors ring true. It’s unfortunate that the word lame—a disability-related term with negative connotations—is used by the internet trolls who deride the video Kitty makes and posts on “ViewTube.” Occasional misstep aside, Kitty’s tribulations provide ample fodder for this instructive and amusing tale.

A hilarious but enlightening guide to the online world—the good, the bad, and the ugly. (Graphic novel. 6-9)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-74996-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2021

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There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow...

THE BOOK HOG

A porcine hoarder of books learns to read—and to share.

The Book Hog’s obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm (“The Book Hog loved books”), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret (“He didn’t know how to read”). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop (“Wilbur’s”) as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author’s own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli’s characteristic style—heavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapes—move the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it’s unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.

There’s nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author’s fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-368-03689-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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