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A Beasty Story

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About the Author

BILL MARTIN JR is known worldwide for his classic picture books, including Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? He lives in Texas.STEVEN KELLOGG has illustrated more than a hundred books for children. He lives in Connecticut.


PreS-K A wonderful collaboration by a talented pair. Their tale happens in "a dark, dark wood," but ends in a silly, silly way. Four mice explore a "dark, dark house" and find (in a dark purple cupboard) a dark green bottle holding a yellow-eyed monster that escapes, sending the mice fleeing. Large-print rhyming text appears at the top of each page; the story is embellished by the mice, who expand upon the narrative in bubble captions, also in rhyme. The initial tone is a little ominous, but the little critters seem too nice to have anything really bad happen to them. Observant children may note the clue in the endpaper the delivery van for "Nick's Tricks and Hank's Pranks," complete with a logo of two big yellow eyes. As if scariness and rhyming text weren't enough to guarantee success, the authors toss in some color naming. All of the elements add up to a picture book with plenty of appeal. Lap listeners will enjoy lingering on the ample details, and the book's size and the story's rhythm are perfect for sharing. The relatively intense color palette and simple settings will allow children at the back of the group to enjoy the pictures, too. Kellogg's trademark animals and his ability to create action on a page are well in evidence. This one is sure to be a hit. Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"Nick's Tricks and Hank's Pranks, Incorporated" are the words painted on the side of a truck rolling through the forest on the front endpaper of this mischievous caper; mice Nick and Hank themselves surface on the title page, offering observant youngsters a clue to the plot that lies ahead. In large type well geared to beginning readers, the text sets the scene for each spreadÄand reinforces knowledge of colors: "In a dark, dark wood there is a dark, dark house./ In the dark brown house there is a dark, dark stair." Appearing in speech balloons within the whimsical illustrations, the ingenuous, rhyming dialogue of four wide-eyed mice supplements the narrative. The intrepid mice venture into the shadow-filled house and creep down a dark, dark red staircase to a cellar with dark, dark blue walls, and so forth, until they find a dark, dark green bottle. The "beast" that floats out of it is only the first of the book's surprises. A high-spirited balance of concept book and adventure tale, this should find an enthusiastic reception among the many fans of Martin (Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?) and Kellogg (Is Your Mama a Llama?). Both artist and illustrator shine as they playfully illuminate this "dark, dark" setting. Ages 3-7. (Aug.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

"A picture book with plenty of appeal . . . This one is sure to be a hit."--School Library Journal"A high-spirited balance of concept book and adventure tale . . . Both artist and illustrator shine."--Publishers Weekly"The . . . buoyant tone, and clever details . . . ensure more than one reading. Beastly good fun!"--Booklist

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