CHICKEN SOUP, BOOTS

Other authors have asked children to consider what they'll do with their lives, but never like this. ``You were not. Now you is...And in between eating chocolate licorice and jumping on a pogo stick, you will find your job. Your work. Your it. Your you. It's true.'' With less interest in work's necessity than in its infinite variety and satisfactions, Kalman—in her own inimitable fashion- -presents a gallery of neighborhood characters—among them, Leopold Leitner, office peddler, who always has something different in his suitcase; cousin Harriet's father Eddie, who sits in a wheelchair at the piano and composes songs like the famous ``Bubba Bubba Bubba''; a sister who also sits at the piano, playing ``FÅr Elise'' until ``even the fruit on the table was screaming for her to stop''; cousin Venezuela Katz the astronomer; and Lois Mungay, who fights fires because she hates them, and ``takes twelve seconds from bed to truck'' when the alarm sounds. Kalman's frenzied, relentlessly verbal stream-of-consciousness is enhanced by the large blocks of boldface in a dazzling array of sophisticated colors harmonizing with the high-energy, superficially childlike art (flat figures, deceptively random-seeming compositions, large brush strokes, bright, contrasting colors), offering a series of wonderfully individual portraits. A tour de force, less self- indulgent (and less hilarious) than her ``Max'' books, and with broader appeal. (Picture book. 8+)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-670-85201-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1993

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With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating...

FRINDLE

Nicholas is a bright boy who likes to make trouble at school, creatively. 

When he decides to torment his fifth-grade English teacher, Mrs. Granger (who is just as smart as he is), by getting everyone in the class to replace the word "pen'' with "frindle,'' he unleashes a series of events that rapidly spins out of control. If there's any justice in the world, Clements (Temple Cat, 1995, etc.) may have something of a classic on his hands. By turns amusing and adroit, this first novel is also utterly satisfying. The chess-like sparring between the gifted Nicholas and his crafty teacher is enthralling, while Mrs. Granger is that rarest of the breed: a teacher the children fear and complain about for the school year, and love and respect forever after. 

With comically realistic black-and-white illustrations by Selznick (The Robot King, 1995, etc.), this is a captivating tale—one to press upon children, and one they'll be passing among themselves. (Fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-689-80669-8

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1996

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The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories.

PERCY JACKSON'S GREEK GODS

Percy Jackson takes a break from adventuring to serve up the Greek gods like flapjacks at a church breakfast.

Percy is on form as he debriefs readers concerning Chaos, Gaea, Ouranos and Pontus, Dionysus, Ariadne and Persephone, all in his dude’s patter: “He’d forgotten how beautiful Gaea could be when she wasn’t all yelling up in his face.” Here they are, all 12 Olympians, plus many various offspring and associates: the gold standard of dysfunctional families, whom Percy plays like a lute, sometimes lyrically, sometimes with a more sardonic air. Percy’s gift, which is no great secret, is to breathe new life into the gods. Closest attention is paid to the Olympians, but Riordan has a sure touch when it comes to fitting much into a small space—as does Rocco’s artwork, which smokes and writhes on the page as if hit by lightning—so readers will also meet Makaria, “goddess of blessed peaceful deaths,” and the Theban Teiresias, who accidentally sees Athena bathing. She blinds him but also gives him the ability to understand the language of birds. The atmosphere crackles and then dissolves, again and again: “He could even send the Furies after living people if they committed a truly horrific crime—like killing a family member, desecrating a temple, or singing Journey songs on karaoke night.”

The inevitable go-to for Percy’s legions of fans who want the stories behind his stories. (Mythology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 19, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-8364-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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