November 27, 2017

Creepy Pair of Underwear by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 9:08 pm by suebe2

Creepy Pair of Underwear
by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Peter Brown
Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Jasper is not a little bunny so when he goes to the underwear store with his mother, he’s ready for big boy underwear.  And for Jasper, that means going with the creepy underwear.

The first thing he notices about his purchase is that they glow in the dark. The greenish glow keeps him up so he buries them in the bottom of his laundry hamper. But when he wakes up in the morning he is wearing none other than the creepy underwear.

He tries hiding them in a drawer and even cutting them into tiny squares but the underwear just keeps coming back.  I’m not going to tell you how Jasper finally succeed in ridding himself of the underwear menace but when he does he actually misses them.  His room is just too dark.

In the end, Jasper proves what a grown up bunny he is and surrounds himself with creepy underwear.

Like Reynolds’ Creepy Carrots, this is picture book horror at its finest.  The story is creepy but also funny because – underwear!   Preschoolers as a whole find the word and everything about it just plain funny.

As an adult, I had to wonder if this story was born of a pair of underwear that had a tendency to creep up.  Not polite, but it is something irritating that the wrong pair will do. As a parent, I realize how funny young readers will find these ridiculous underwear as well as the thought that underwear can be scary.

The creepy factor is emphasized by the black and white, picture book noir, effect with only the underwear being in color.   As always, Brown’s illustrations add tons of fun to the story.  That said, I was a tad disappointed when the cover did not glow in the dark.  Yes, I tested it.

Still a fun story to help introduce young readers to a discussion of what is scary and how what is scary to one bunny, or person, doesn’t phase another.  Share this one with a young reader in your life!  This pair also wrote and illustrated Creepy Carrots.

–SueBE

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December 18, 2014

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am Not.) by Peter Brown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 2:46 am by suebe2

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am Not.)
by Peter Brown
Little Brown and Company

Bobby had a problem where school was concerned, and her name was Ms. Kirby.  Ms. Kirby clomped along ordering everyone out of her way.  Ms. Brown roared especially when Bobby threw paper airplanes in class.  Ms. Brown was clearly a monster.

When he wasn’t in school, Bobby liked to go to the park.  One day he was on his was to his favorite spot, when he came across Ms. Kirby sitting on a park bench.

This is where the story gets really good because of the clues in Brown’s ink, watercolor, gouache and pencil illustrations.  It is clear from the start that neither Bobby or Ms. Kirby are thrilled to have run into the other, but they tough it out and try to share this space that is obviously special to both of them.

Early in the story, Ms. Kirby is a t-rex look-alike with a big green head.  As she and Bobby share the park and their interests with each other (complete with paper airplane flying), first Ms. Kirby’s snout looks a little pink.  As her face pink’s up, her snout shrinks.  By the time they part ways, she is obviously a woman and not a monster.  Not that all conflict between the two is over, but from this point on each has a better understanding of the other.  This is the kind of play between story and clues found in the illustrations that you can only get in a picture book.

This book would make an excellent jumping-off point for discussing getting along, misunderstandings and assumptions.  Brown’s dedication pretty much says it all, “To misunderstood teachers and their misunderstood students.”

–SueBE

 

September 26, 2013

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 1:44 am by suebe2

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
by Peter Brown
Little, Brown and Company

All of the animals lived terribly proper lives.  They greeted each other around town, sipped their tea just so and tipped their hats.

All this proper-behavior was getting to Mr. Tiger.  He wanted to get wild — just a little.  But how? What to do?

Then Mr. Tiger had an idea and off he ran down the street on all fours.  His friends were appalled.  How could he act like such an animal?

“If you must act wild,” said a disgusted looking elephant lady, “go do it in the wilderness.”  And so he did.

Eventually, Mr. Tiger returns to civilization but it is clear (through the illustrations) that he has changed.  And he isn’t the only one.

This is an incredibly simple story and so much of it comes through Peter Brown’s illustration which is a combination of ink, watercolor, gouache and pencil.  The animals are blocky and not particularly realistic but express a surprising array of emotion.

For a story that is as simple as it is, it also packs a thematic punch and could easily lead to discussions on following the crowd, being true to yourself and inspiring others.

While preschoolers will be drawn to the illustrations more than older children will the story itself will appeal to children of all ages who have felt compelled to be something less than themselves in an attempt to keep the staid and stuffy happy.

–SueBE

December 10, 2012

Creepy Carrots written by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:36 am by suebe2

creepy carrotsCreepy Carrots
written by Aaron Reynolds,
illustrated by Peter Brown
Simon and Schuster
AR 2.3

What’s up!  Two creepy books in a row?  You better believe it — there is nothing better, IMO, than a book than a safe scary story and this is one of the best.

No one loved carrots more than Jasper Rabbit.  The carrots that grew in Crackenhopper Field were the absolute best.  He ate them every chance he got and he ate lots!

One day, just as he was getting ready to help himself to a particularly amazing carrot, Jasper heard it.  “The soft . . . sinister . . . tunktunktunk of carrots creeping.”  Of course, when Jasper turns around, there is nothing there but he hurries home nonetheless.

Jasper sees them reflected in mirrors, peeking out of the shed window, and even sneaking across his bedroom floor in the dark.  Of course, when his parents investigate, there are no carrots.  Just bath toys, garden tools and toys left on the floor.

But Jasper knew the carrots were there and if his parents weren’t going to help him, he was going to have to help himself.

No more plot.  If I tell you the plot it will give away the surprise ending.

Browns illustrations are a perfect fit for this spare but spooky story.  Even in the beginning of the book when Jasper is blissfully eating carrots, things feel a little creepy because the art work is moody black and white, like an old movie, with just touches of orange as the only color.

Not sure your little reader is ready for a creepy picture book?  This one is atmospheric without being really scary.  They are, after all, carrots.  The main character is a rabbit, not a child, which creates a bit more distance.  And the 1950s feel of the illustrations creates even more distance.

This probably isn’t a good bed time book, but for the young book lover who likes some shadowy atmosphere, this one is a scream.

–SueBE

 

 

 

January 29, 2009

Flight of the Dodo by Peter Brown

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 11:11 pm by suebe2

flightofthedodoFlight of the Dodo  (AR 4. 1 )

written and illustrated by Peter Brown

Little, Brown and Co.

As with all of the best picture books, this is an excellent read aloud.   Be prepared to laugh so hard you’ll have to take a break from your reading.  Seriously.  I mean it.  And this is one that cracked both my husband and I up to the point that neither of us could “be the grown up” and continue reading.

This is the story of Penguin.  Poor Penguin.  Like the other Waddlers (Kiwi, Ostrich and Cassowary), Penguin cannot fly like the other birds.  Poor pooped on Penguin.

And it is getting pooped on that gets Penguin moving.  Certainly the Waddlers can learn to fly?  Why should the be grounded?  Denied the beauty of flight and all that goes with it?    It takes several tries, but finally the group takes off in a balloon.  When they show off to a flock of geese, they get caught up in a powerful storm.  How will they ever get down again?  Hint:  The get the attention of the geese way down below on the ground.

Potty humor prevails but somehow it is funny.  Really.  These aren’t just poop jokes for the sake of poop jokes.   Think of it as figurative.  Your kid will get it even if he or she can’t express it in words.  After all, they get pooped on every time you tell them that they can’t do something because they are kids (Waddlers).  They will so get it.

This probably isn’t the best choice for a bed time book because laughing so hard will certainly wake everyone up.   But it makes a fantastic piece for a fun reading experience when it is too cold to go outside.

–SueBE

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