PETERRIFIC

From the Pinkalicious series

Bestseller Kann expands her storytelling to include Pinkalicious’ younger brother, Peter.

Peter is playing with blocks in the living room while his sister reads. Deciding he wants “to build a GIANT tower all by [him]self” for once, he enlists Pinkalicious’ help in gathering materials from neighbors. Sending up a basket of crackers along with Peter’s telescope, Pinkalicious watches as he piles the blocks higher and higher beneath him. Mommy and Daddy are cross, but Peter keeps on building. At last he sits atop a stratosphere-breaching tower, his family far below and the curve of the Earth clear in the lower horizon. (Caregivers of a psychoanalytic bent will take note of the extremely phallic nature of Peter’s enterprise.) But it’s lonely at the top, and when Peter realizes he doesn’t know how to get down, he eats his crackers and sits down for a cry. Wind comes in the morning along with the convenient recollection that he is “an expert knot tier,” so he fashions a parachute and floats back home, where his parents welcome him and tell him he should build a safe tower next time. (So much for manly adventure.) Kann’s digital collages mirror the text but do not extend it, eschewing the opportunity to play with the boundary between the real and imagined worlds. Peter and Pinkalicious’ white family have all the expressiveness of Playmobil figurines.

Petepid. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-256356-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers.

THE INFAMOUS RATSOS

From the Infamous Ratsos series , Vol. 1

Two little rats decide to show the world how tough they are, with unpredictable results.

Louie and Ralphie Ratso want to be just like their single dad, Big Lou: tough! They know that “tough” means doing mean things to other animals, like stealing Chad Badgerton’s hat. Chad Badgerton is a big badger, so taking that hat from him proves that Louie and Ralphie are just as tough as they want to be. However, it turns out that Louie and Ralphie have just done a good deed instead of a bad one: Chad Badgerton had taken that hat from little Tiny Crawley, a mouse, so when Tiny reclaims it, they are celebrated for goodness rather than toughness. Sadly, every attempt Louie and Ralphie make at doing mean things somehow turns nice. What’s a little boy rat supposed to do to be tough? Plus, they worry about what their dad will say when he finds out how good they’ve been. But wait! Maybe their dad has some other ideas? LaReau keeps the action high and completely appropriate for readers embarking on chapter books. Each of the first six chapters features a new, failed attempt by Louie and Ralphie to be mean, and the final, seventh chapter resolves everything nicely. The humor springs from their foiled efforts and their reactions to their failures. Myers’ sprightly grayscale drawings capture action and characters and add humorous details, such as the Ratsos’ “unwelcome” mat.

A nicely inventive little morality “tail” for newly independent readers. (Fiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7636-0

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2016

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