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RICK WALTON is the author of So Many Bunnies, One More Bunny and more than ninety other picture books both bunny-and non-bunny-related. He lives with his family in Utah. www.rickwalton.com WES HARGIS is the illustrator of Jackson and Bud's Bumpy Ride and "Weird" Al Yankovic's When I Grow Up. He lives in southern Arizona with his wife and some really sweet kids. www.weshargis.com
K-Gr 2-After being sent to her room for playing ball in the house with the usual disastrous consequences, a girl decides that she needs her own private country, complete with its own name, rules, and anthem. This is one of those books in which the words tell one story while the pictures clearly tell another, similar to Mark Teague's "Larue" series (Scholastic). "You will need citizens"-kitty, doggie, goldfish, and assorted stuffed animals are pictured. "And there might be invasions"-little brother attempts to enter. While not as cerebral as Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are (Harper & Row, 1963), the classic story of how a child's fantasy life transforms his time-out, or as sophisticated as Paul Fleischman's Weslandia (Candlewick, 1999), this tale has substantial wit, humor, and charm. Hargis's watercolor illustrations are sunny and cheerful, filled with homey details that will invite children to pore over them time and again. A fun read that deserves a place in most collections.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Civics need not be a snooze, as Walton (Baby's First Year) and Hargis (When I Grow Up) prove. Their collaboration opens with a declaration of independence by a curly-haired narrator who's consumed by revolutionary fervor thanks to her annoying younger brother: "There comes a time in all kids' lives when they need to create their own country." Thus the nation of "My Roomania" is founded, complete with a flag, laws, currency, national anthem ("My Roomania is the Best/ My Little Brother is a Pest!") and cabinet (the cat is "Secretary of Mice"). But running a nation is no walk in the park, what with "civil unrest" (Citizen Dog and Citizen Cat just can't get along) and the threat of invasion by her brother. Perhaps some realpolitik and compromise is in order. Hargis's watercolor-and-ink cartoons are a smart match for Walton's succinct, sly prose; the images have the ring of domestic authenticity and just a touch of the absurd, with expressive characters that never let a crisis go to waste-even the goldfish (Secretary of the Navy, naturally) looks ready for battle. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.