The sources may be old, but the drollery is timeless.

NOODLEHEADS DO THE IMPOSSIBLE

From the Noodleheads series , Vol. 6

Empty-headed (literally) sibs Mac and Mac fulfill the title’s promise with their grandest, daftest quest yet.

Inspired by their uncle Ziti’s “impossible” yarn about a snake and a frog that swallowed each other, the tubular twins decide to become famous for an impossible feat of their own. But what? Walking around the world? Counting all the stars above? Or all the grains of sand below? Each turns out to present certain difficulties—after counting a “bazillion” stars, for instance, Mac and Mac find more that have fallen into their mom’s washtub and need to be rescued. “Are they heavy?” asks Mac. Mac responds: “No, they’re light.” (Ha, ha.) Adults, particularly those of a scholarly bent, will appreciate the fantastically detailed, tiny-type notes at the end about folktale motifs, variations drawn from diverse traditions, modern versions, idioms, and even the notion of “infinity.” Readers younger of age and/or heart will chortle at the Macs’ general cluelessness, then cheer them on as they do get “around the world” just in time for lunch—thanks to the intervention of frenemy Meatball, the only nonpasta player in Arnold’s foodcentric cartoon frames, who turns their shoes around while they’re napping. The little jokes embedded within the large ones are just as delightful, as when Mac and Mac try to figure out how to “always [put] your best foot forward.” It’s not as easy as grown-ups say it is.

The sources may be old, but the drollery is timeless. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4003-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it.

NOODLEHEADS SEE THE FUTURE

Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted.

Fools have been called “noodleheads” for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren’t the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she’ll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they’re sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase “firewood seeds” (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors’ note, which goes into some detail about each chapter’s folk origins.

Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3673-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future.

BALONEY AND FRIENDS

From the Baloney & Friends series , Vol. 1

A new chapter-book series promises tons of fun for everyone.

Baloney the pig couldn’t be happier about starring in his very own book—until pals Peanut D. Horse, Bizz E. Bee, and Krabbit (a crabby rabbit) crash the introduction, leaving him frustrated. Baloney perseveres and goes on to star in several, short comic book–style stories that often break the fourth wall and that always rely on the very different personalities of the characters to deliver humor. Peanut is a Pollyanna and just a bit daffy. Bizz is a sensible, thoughtful bee-ing. Krabbit is so crabby he’d give Oscar the Grouch a run for his money. Baloney? Well, Baloney is a sensitive sort who, in two longer episodes, wants to entertain his friends with a magic show and join in their fun at swimming. Shorter “mini-comics” between these sections provide good breaks for new readers who are, perhaps, just starting to make their ways through a longer text like this. Pizolli saves the strongest story for last, delivering a sweet and satisfying portrait of Peanut’s kindness to her friend Baloney when he feels blue. And readers needn’t feel blue themselves that the story is over since they can follow handy backmatter instructions to draw their own versions of the simple, line-drawn characters.

Here’s hoping there will be a bunch of Baloney in the future. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-05454-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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