As the bedbug says, “absolutely / deeee licious”; a delightful introduction for audiences not quite ready for Douglas...

NASTY BUGS

In poems written especially for this humorously illustrated collection, 16 versatile poets describe 16 different, mostly familiar and certainly unwelcome insects.

“Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! Ugh! / Uck! Uck! Uck!” From stink bugs to giant water bugs, with nods to agricultural pests, creatures that bite or sting and those that prefer our waste, Hopkins and his fellow poets celebrate the pests among us. Contributors include many whose names will be familiar to readers of children’s poetry. From free verse to tight rhyme and rhythm, the forms are as diverse as the insects described. As in any collection, the poems vary in strength, but for read-aloud or choral presentation, many will have both audience and performer appeal. Terry’s smooth, vividly colored paintings, mostly double-page spreads underlying the poems, add to the fun. These bright illustrations exaggerate his anthropomorphized subjects’ bug-eyes, sharp teeth and pincers. But there’s some genuine information as well, both in the poetry and in the backmatter, which includes each creature’s scientific name or order, a thumbnail and a few words from the poem and an additional factual paragraph (which strains, sometimes, to include the titular “nasty”).

As the bedbug says, “absolutely / deeee licious”; a delightful introduction for audiences not quite ready for Douglas Florian’s Insectlopedia (1998) or Joyce Sidman’s Song of the Water Boatman, illustrated by Beckie Prange (2005). (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3716-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2011

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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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