A, B, SEE!

Here Janovitz elaborates an idea that rightly helped Suze Macdonald earn a Caldecott Honor for Alphabatics (1986): Each letter of the alphabet transforms over four bright, simple cartoon panels into an animal (“A” to an “Alligator,” “B” to a “Beaver,” etc.). But the final panel, being hidden under a flap, gives this change an extra dimension by turning it into a guessing game. In several cases, however, she doesn’t play fair; despite several visual cues, first time viewers don’t stand much chance of figuring out “Lemur,” for instance, not to mention “Uta lizard,” or “Xiaosaurus.” Still, unlike Joose Goffin’s surrealistic Oh! (1991) and its sequels, this does provide an occasional opportunity for successful deduction, along with an enticing invitation to play with sequences and familiar shapes. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-8118-4673-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Chronicle Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2005

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A cozy read for bibliophiles.

SNOWMAN'S STORY

With echoes of “Frosty the Snowman” in the background, a snowman’s storybook within this wordless book delivers a comic wintertime romp.

Woodland creatures build a snowman, giving him a green book as a finishing touch. This addition comes right after a windswept top hat lands on his head, vivifying him à la Frosty. Hidden inside is a rabbit (it is a magic hat, after all); attentive readers will have seen the hat first on frontmatter pages and then with the bunny in the double-page spreads before the early ones devoted to the snowman’s construction. The snowman reads his book aloud to the animals, with the rabbit surreptitiously listening in, its ears poking out of the top of the hat. When the others all drift off to sleep, the bunny emerges and steals away with the book. A chase ensues across snowy terrain and through a series of pages (perhaps a few too many for good pacing) replete with comic-style panels. When the animals and snowman confront the rabbit in its tree-hollow home, its motivation for book thievery is revealed: This bunny has a family and wishes to share the story with its children. All’s well that ends well, and the animals convene (safely outside and away from the rabbit family’s crackling fireplace) to read together.

A cozy read for bibliophiles. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4778-4787-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2014

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RHYMING DUST BUNNIES

This dynamic quartet of dust bunnies, Ed, Ned, Ted and Bob, have quite the flair for rhyming words—except for anxious Bob, who is wisely more concerned about their perilous surroundings. In response to each rhyme, Bob dramatically declares that their enemy draws near: “ ‘rug’ / ‘hug’ / ‘mug’ / ‘LOOK OUT!’ ” Unfortunately, each of Bob’s pleas falls on deaf bunnies’ ears. Ned obliviously responds, “Bob, no… ‘LOOK OUT! HERE COMES A BIG SCARY MONSTER WITH A BROOM!’ does not rhyme with ANYTHING, really.” When the inevitable occurs, with a dramatic “Thwptt,” the threesome finally listens to the rational hero, providing a powerful punch line. Thomas’s digital illustrations, stark against her solid, colorful backgrounds, successfully accentuate the witty text. The shaggy dust bunnies are boldly contrasted, as their colors—green, purple, red and blue—extend past the thick lines into the ever-so-slightly-less-red background. With their wide noses, long ears, four-fingered paws and buck teeth, these fuzzy characters are a riot. Put away your cleaning supplies for a little messy fun. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-4169-7976-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2008

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