Krall's pen and ink drawings--part Mad magazine, part Ronald Searle--find ample scope in his authorial debut (he illustrated Sally Lloyd-Jones's Being a Pig Is Nice), an abecedary of nasty children. "A is for Andy who won't eat his peas," it opens, with a strawberry blond boy in a T-shirt whose hair leaps up like a fountain and who regards his plate with disdain. "B is for Becky who cannot say please" shows a girl with googly eyes and snaggly teeth, reaching desperately for a lollipop. Kathy, who won't brush her teeth, has lumps of repulsive green goo on her tongue; Nancy, who plays with her food, pokes a distressed-looking carrot into a mashed potato castle with broccoli landscaping. Sparks of nervous energy jump off the children, waves of stench rise from them, flies buzz around them, and they fart aggressively. Entries like "V is for Violet who does nothing right," and "S is for Sigmund who still wets the bed" won't make kids with those proclivities feel any better. More Garbage Pail Kids than Gashlycrumb Tinies. Ages 4�7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Krall has constructed an alphabet book in frequent rhyme that presents on each page a child whose behavior should be avoided by the good children reading the book. They, of course, will relish the details. He goes from Andy, "who won't eat his peas," and Becky, "who cannot say please," through Isaac, "who cries all the time," and Jeffrey, "He knows how to whine," to Xander, "who farts in a crowd," Yoshi, "whose parents aren't proud," and Zachary, "the worst of the bunch. He beats them all up and steals their lunch." All these terrible examples must make readers smile. Digitally produced cartoon-y caricatures exaggerate the negative. Kathy, who won't brush her teeth, sticks out her rotting tongue; Xander stares out from a cloud of yellowish gas. Let's hope the readers get the right lessons! Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This rhyming alphabet romp revels in its own outrageous behavior. From A to Z, or Andy to Zachary, all 26 children display beastly actions, which (one must hope) teach readers what not to do. Rhythmic couplets range from tame to giddily gross: "G is for Gertrude who stays up too late," while "H is for Hameed who won't wash his plate." And, "W is for Wendy. She is very loud," while "X is for Xander who farts in a crowd." Krall's frenzied caricatures of each child are covered in green, smelly stenches, fuming red anger lines or drippy, sticky messes. Esther's hands (she won't wash them) are green and oozy, and their fumes have attracted flies; mad Martha, who belongs in a zoo, foams at the mouth as she trembles with rage. It's Garbage Pail Kids reincarnated. Readers might not revel in spotting their own names on the pages, but poking fun at siblings and friends is guaranteed. Equal opportunists will be delighted to know that a beastly nature is found in both boys and girls, as well as in children of all ethnicities. (Picture book. 4-8)
Read an Excerpt
A is for Andy who won’t eat his peas.
B is for Becky who cannot say please.
C is for Cletus who writes on the walls.
D is for Deon who won’t come when he’s called.
E is for Esther. She won’t wash her hands.
F is for Florence, the Queen of Demands.
G is for Gertrude who stays up too late.
H is for Hameed who won’t wash his plate.
I is for Isaac who cries all the time.
J is for Jeffrey. He knows how to whine.