NO DOGS ALLOWED!

Sesame Street’s “Maria” debuts with this effervescent tale of an extended Bronx family heading for the beach. “Only take what you know you’ll really need to go on a picnic,” says Papi. Over her big sister Shorty’s objections, young Iris takes El Exigente, the dog—only to encounter a sign (see title) that confines him to the parking lot. So Papi proposes that everyone take turns minding him, “until we figure out what to do.” Or, as it happens, until darkness falls, and all head sleepily homeward. Muth’s sand-tinted scenes bustle with vivacious, expressively posed figures, as Iris’s Mami (who bears a strong resemblance to the author) whips up enough food for an army while neighbors and relatives gather from, as Iris puts it, “the tri-state area,” then head off in a convoy of heavily loaded cars to a lake (though it looks more like the ocean) in “Enchanted State Park.” Children will happily hitch a ride, laugh at the exaggerated but believable details and misadventures, and listen to the quiet chords of community and cooperation that underlie Iris’s sunny account. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2004

ISBN: 0-689-83088-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2004

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MERCY WATSON GOES FOR A RIDE

She’s back! Mercy, the porcine wonder, is back in all her buttered-toast eating glory. It’s Saturday, time for a ride in the pink convertible. But, does Mercy like to ride or drive? Drive! Only Mrs. Watson’s promise of extra helpings of hot buttered toast can get this clever pig to scoot across the front seat and enjoy the weekly adventure. And when next-door neighbor Baby Lincoln hankers for a little adventure of her own, the fun really begins. From the toast icons that surround the page numbers, to faux-tape spine, and hilariously gaudy over-the-top illustrations, this is a throw-back in the best sense of the word. When Mercy ends up sitting on top of Mr. Watson in the driver’s seat and Baby has to crawl over the seat to help out, it’s hard not to think of Lucy, Ethel and Ricky caught in another pickle. All’s well that ends well, of course, and that means everyone can celebrate with a stack of toast and an extra pat of butter. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-7636-2332-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2006

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MERCY WATSON TO THE RESCUE

Hilarity and hijinks abound in this tale about a voracious swine with an overweening yen for hot buttered toast. Mercy is the beloved pet pig of the doting Mr. and Mrs. Watson. When Mercy sneaks into her owner’s bed one night, her added heft causes the bed to fall partway through the ceiling. Although the besotted Watsons assume Mercy is trotting off to seek help, the only search and rescue Mercy seems to care about involves butter and hot bread. In her quest for some midnight munchies, Mercy awakens the crotchety neighbor. Wild chases and mayhem ensue before help arrives in the guise of firefighters. DiCamillo aims for over-the-top fun with her tale of porcine shenanigans, and Van Dusen’s gouache illustrations provide a comical counterpart to the text. The glossy paintings, with exaggerated caricatures and lively colors, complement DiCamillo’s tone, although the scowling, lantern-jawed visage of the crabby neighbor borders on the unpleasant. With vocabulary that may prove too challenging for a novice, DiCamillo’s tale is best suited for those ready to move up. However, the pacing and the action easily make it right for shared reading. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-7636-2270-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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