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I am so Handsome


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About the Author

Mario Ramos was born in Brussels in 1958. His books have been published in the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Korea, Japan and the US. In 1993, Mario Ramos was awarded the Prix Versele for his children's book 'Djabibi' (1992) and in 1998 the Prix des Critiques en Belgique for his illustrated book 'Quand j'etais petit' (1997).


The bigheaded wolf from I Am So Strong still hasn't learned the art of humility. Following the format of the first book, intimidated fairy tale characters like Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs only bolster the wolf's self-regard: "You're wonderful! You shine like a thousand stars," say the "trembling" pigs. Ramos uses thick layers of paint and heavy black outlines in his engaging pictures, while building readers' expectation through the wolf's increasingly pompous inflections. A cute but hasty finale involving the fire-breathing baby dragon from the previous book falls a tad flat. Ages 4-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

K-Gr 3-Readers will revel in this clever tale of comeuppance by an established Belgian author-illustrator who must have had so much fun with I Am So Strong (Gecko, 2011) that he decided to spin another. The big bad wolf, created in thickly textured gouache, stands out in the forest and beckons to everyone he meets to tell him who is the handsomest of all. He encounters the usual suspects in this homage to fairy tales, especially the woods dwellers and lone travelers first venturing out. Readers will relish the luscious, tongue-in-cheek language and well-chosen illustrative details. When the wolf sees Little Red Riding Hood picking flowers, he ventures condescendingly: "Hmm, nice get-up! Tell me, my little wild strawberry, who's the handsomest around here?" She defers to him as most handsome and off he goes, enraptured with himself, adjusting his tie, and proclaiming, "There we have it! Out of the mouths of babes, the truth. I am the most elegant, the most charming." The illustrations are executed in a painterly comic style. If his blatant bravado doesn't garner readers' bellowing laughter, wait until he meets the baby dragon, who calls him a "ridiculous little gizzard" before asking the infamous mirror-mirror-on-the-wall question. The wolf has met his match. A blow to vanity and chock-full of the deadpan humor, this book is a charmer and a keeper.-Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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