Similarly talkative youngsters struggling with social interactions may want to schedule their own laryngitis days.

QUIET PLEASE, OWEN MCPHEE!

A boy who talks too much gets some lessons on the importance of listening from his classmates…and laryngitis.

The book sets the tone from the start, dialogue balloons with fading text filling the opening spread, Owen’s poor dog on her back with paws over her ears. But that’s just the start. Subsequent spreads demonstrate how Owen’s loquaciousness negatively affects his classmates on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday, though, brings a bout of laryngitis that stops Owen in his tracks. Writing everything down takes so much time! Retreating from the playground, where he just can’t keep up, he finds Isabella working on a bridge project he ruined on Monday. After his heartfelt written apology, she invites him to help her, and he becomes the fourth member of a successful team. The ending reflects real life in that Owen still has bouts of talkativeness, though now he does also listen for others’ input…and he schedules regular laryngitis days on his calendar. Barton’s pencil-and-digital illustrations portray a very diverse classroom headed by a black male teacher; red-headed Owen himself presents white, and Isabella has pale skin and black hair. Faces are incredibly expressive; readers will have no doubt how Owen’s classmates feel about his interruptions during storytime or his plot-spoiling at lunch. Discussion questions that will require some deep thinking round out the book.

Similarly talkative youngsters struggling with social interactions may want to schedule their own laryngitis days. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-55713-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

WE ARE IN A BOOK!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book . The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4231-3308-7

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

more