Friday, January 29, 2010

Have I got a book for you!

Booklist (September 15, 2009 (Vol. 106, No. 2))
Preschool-Grade 2. The offer stated in this book’s title is issued by a huckster of a fox in a clashing plaid suit. “I can sell anything!” boasts Mr. Al Foxword, and on each spread, he slyly tries to wheel and deal readers into buying the book that they already hold in their hands. Similar in format to Watt’s Scaredy Squirrel titles, the pages mix text and pictures in creative, unconventional layouts that amplify the goofy humor, as Foxword works himself into a nervous, sweaty frenzy, trotting out every sales cliché along the way. Jokes and interactive fun are the point here, not a solid story, and Watt embeds lots of wordplay into the slapstick scenes filled with Foxword’s body language and verbal manipulations. A closing gimmick will bring even more laughs, though underneath the layers of jokes, kids may very well recognize in Foxword’s wheedling a greatly exaggerated version of their own frustrated negotiations with grown-ups. Give this to Mo Willems’ legions of Pigeon fans.

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