Monday, January 13, 2014

Lord and Lady Bunny- Almost Royalty!

Horn Book (January/February, 2014)
In this funny, meticulously crafted sequel to Mr. and Mrs. Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire! (rev. 1/12), young Madeline desperately wants to save enough money for college; Mrs. Bunny, done with sleuthing, desperately wants to be queen. Somehow these two radically different desires result in both of them taking an ocean liner across the pond--along with Mr. Bunny (natch), Mrs. Treaclebunny (self-invited), Madeline's school friend Katherine, and Madeline's parents (who have serendipitously inherited a sweet shoppe in England). As in the first book, Horvath includes plenty of satire (overly energetic scrapbooking moms; royals and their loyal followers; people who leave their money to cats); winks at children's literature (Horvath herself makes a bitingly funny appearance, at a book-signing seated next to Oldwhatshername, the elegant and svelte author of a ten-pound fantasy book); and, again, more lunacy than you can shake a carrot at: "'Mrs. Bunny went to Bunnycostycost and brought home seventeen cartons of Frosted Flakes just for the box tops. She didn't even check first to see if Mr. Bunny liked Frosted Flakes.' 'Oh well, it made excellent mulch,' said Mrs. Bunny faintly." One can only hope that Mr. and Mrs. B. have loads more madcap adventures to share with audiences--both bunny and human. Final art unseen. jennifer m. brabander

Urgency Emergency! Itsy Bitsy Spider

School Library Journal (October 1, 2013)
K-Gr 2-Both easy readers follow the same basic plot: Doctor Glenda, a dog; Nurse Percy, a chicken; and penguin paramedics bring the patient into the emergency room. In the first story, a wolf is choking. Doctor Glenda carefully explains that something is caught in his throat and must be removed but Nurse Percy is cowering under the gurney. This is a smart chicken-afraid of a wolf. Doctor Glenda quickly convinces him that the wolf is their patient and that he should overcome his fear and help out. Careful readers will noticed the sheep dressed in red in the waiting room who has lost her grandma. The staff squeezes her out of the wolf's stomach, calls the police, and everyone lives happily ever after. In the next book, a spider is taken to the emergency room by Miss Muffet, a cat. The spider fell down the waterspout and cut her head. Miss Muffet is afraid of spiders, but she knows that she has to get help for her. Doctor and Nurse stitch up the spider's head and, in spite of her fear, Miss Muffet takes her home and offers her curds and whey. The books feature one to three sentences per page, and the illustrations are large, colorful, and funny. Supplemental purchases useful for beginning-reader enjoyment or as introductions to emergency-room procedures.-Susan Lissim, Dwight School, New York City (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

The Draw Out Story : Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics

Booklist (September 15, 2013 (Online))
Grades 4-7. There’s no shortage of how-to-create-comics manuals around, but McLachlan (The Princess Planet webcomic) manages to distinguish his by breaking down complex concepts with very accurately age-targeted language and examples. His instructions are divided into 10 secrets, each an overarching and abstract idea essential to comics and story creation, like unifying words and art, practicing simplicity, creating ideas, and even a chapter on knowing when to break the rules. He then explains the concept in practical terms with easily understandable language and a great deal of enthusiasm. He fills each chapter with visual examples and pro tips and ends each one with exercises that will pull budding cartoonists right in. Though he affords ample time to the visual mechanics, McLachlan offers salient writing advice as well, touching on elements that have produced great stories for as long as there have been stories, in an easygoing and unintimidating manner. Indeed, like a beloved teacher, McLachlan’s warmth, humor, and charm make this book the absolute best of its kind for the age group.

The Animal Book

Booklist starred (October 1, 2013 (Vol. 110, No. 3))
Grades 1-5. The author of more than 30 books about the natural world offers here a compendium of the animal kingdom arranged in thematic chapters touching on family, senses, predators, defenses, extremes, and evolution. Chapters (signaled by colored tabs running along page tops) contain multiple spreads addressing subtopics (for example, the topic of “Family” breaks down into “Attracting a Mate,” “Eggs,” and “Born Alive”). Each of these sections includes a brief introduction and multiple captioned illustrations, and the chapters close with an infographic that summarizes the section’s most important points. As always, Jenkins’ cut-paper collages are a highlight and demonstrate great use of vibrant color, attention to detail (particularly sizes), and an overall sense of design. The back matter is rich as well; the index of animals contains thumbnail illustrations and notations about size, habitat, and diet, while an appended section on “Making Books” explains Jenkins’ process—from ideas and research to illustrations and publication. Much of this artwork has appeared previously, but it is repurposed to superb effect, with new captions and organization. This is a beautiful book that belongs in most collections; it will engage browsers for hours, and the many textual features make it an excellent choice for classroom curricula.

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

Horn Book (January/February, 2014)
Texas boasts as many tall tales as there are fleas on a hound dog, but listeners will have to venture far afield to find one more engaging than Isaacs's latest. The newly widowed Tulip Jones inherits thirty-five million dollars and a ranch in By-Golly Gully, Texas. With her twelve pet tortoises and three (lady) ranch hands, she sets up farming. Little does she know that everything grows bigger in Texas, including tortoises, potatoes that "took only seven of them to make a dozen," and a "single watermelon [that] fed everyone on the ranch for a month." The colored-pencil and acrylic illustrations in sunbaked Texas tones complement Isaacs's hyperbole. Tulip changes her demure dress for flattering Western wear, including a rose-topped Stetson, and gallops her now-saddled tortoises across the prairie; the ranch hands climb ladders to saw off huge tomatoes. But a passel of trouble looms. Every single man in Texas, which in 1870 meant every man in Texas, wants her money, and they all descend on the ranch seeking her hand in marriage. The Widow Jones must get rid of these odious gold diggers. She devises three trials for the suitors; meanwhile, the ranch hands, also hoping to distract the men, invite all unmarried women to come get hitched. These two madcap story lines converge, but not before listeners have plenty of opportunities to join in with choruses of "meanwhile" and curses of "Riprocious!" betty carter