Always Listen to Your Mother

Overview

Ernest always does what his mother asks...and never has any fun. When a new boy moves in next door, Ernest's mother encourages her son to make friends. But the new neighbors seem a little bit...strange—monstrous, even. Obeying Ernest's new friend Vlapid's mother means Ernest must do things he'd never dare try at home. And it's fantastic!

Veteran children's book author Florence Parry Heide and her daughter Roxanne Heide team up with Kyle M. Stone to create a gleefully subversive ...

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Overview

Ernest always does what his mother asks...and never has any fun. When a new boy moves in next door, Ernest's mother encourages her son to make friends. But the new neighbors seem a little bit...strange—monstrous, even. Obeying Ernest's new friend Vlapid's mother means Ernest must do things he'd never dare try at home. And it's fantastic!

Veteran children's book author Florence Parry Heide and her daughter Roxanne Heide team up with Kyle M. Stone to create a gleefully subversive take on the traditional new neighbor story. Lots of energy and mayhem, and a cool gothic approach to the illustrations make this a great choice for Halloween and all year round.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With a receding hairline, bowtie, and suspenders, young Ernest looks like he's well on his way to becoming a middle-aged momma's boy. "Ernest always listened to his mother. Nice little children always listen to their mothers," deadpans the narrator, setting up the kid-pleasing mayhem to come. When Ernest goes to meet the new family next door (because mothers "want their children to meet nice children who will be a good influence"), he meets Vlapid, who resembles a miniature bat-eared Frankenstein, and his vampirish mother. She, too, demands obedience, which involves scribbling on the walls and swinging from the chandeliers. Heide and Pierce's (Tio Armando) slyly restrained tone is an effective straight man to Stone's (I Love My Pirate Papa) embellished mixed-media illustrations. His offbeat characters evoke those of David Shannon, but Stone surprises and further engages his audience with a palette of rich, varied textures. A closeup image of lace serves as a tablecloth, while a green field appears to be a wash of green paint over a floral Victorian wallpaper in reds and yellows--an interesting juxtaposition, not unlike the two new friends. Ages 3-7. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Ernest is one of those good boys who do whatever their mothers tell them to. He also never has a good time. He works hard along with his mother to keep the house clean and tidy. When a new family moves next door, Ernest asks to go over to see if there is someone there to play with. A young boy named Vlapid and his mother greet him with their very different list of the work they want done to make their house "a home." And from room to room they go, creating messy chaos everywhere. And that's just the way Vlapid's mother likes it! When Ernest goes home, he tells his mother that Vlapid always listens to his mother too. Convinced that he will be a good influence on Ernest, she asks him to play with Vlapid every day. And of course happy Ernest always listens to his mother. Stone's mixed-media double-page scenes contrast Vlapid's spooky house with the bright, tidy home cared for by Ernest and his mother. We never see his mother, but cartoon-y Ernest contrasts with the wide-eyed Vlapid and his mother. Even the pictures hanging on the walls contribute sly humor to this tale with a touch of macabre. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2—Ernest, the milquetoast protagonist of this quirky tale, is a perfectly obedient son. He cleans, follows the rules, and never has fun—until new neighbors move in next door. Curiously reminiscent of the Munsters, Vlapid and his mother have a different idea of the work it takes to make a house a home. Zany antics like swinging from the chandelier in a red cape made from the drapes ensue, cementing the boys' friendship. Stone's mixed-media illustrations are slightly creepy, especially the characters' faces. However, children will love the details and Vlapid and Ernest's wild antics, which are depicted through a combination of well-placed text and jaunty lines. The juxtaposition of orderly equals boring and chaos equals amusement might irk some adults, but children will delight in a house in which there are no rules. Pair this joyful read-aloud with David Shannon's No, David! (Scholastic, 1998) for a laughter-filled, visual feast of children behaving badly.—Jasmine L. Precopio, Fox Chapel Area School District, Pittsburgh, PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423113959
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 8/3/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Florence Parry Heide has published more than 100 books for children and youth - from picture books to adolescent novels - and several collections of poetry. Her best known works are a series of story books about the curious adventures of a boy named Treehorn. She has collaborated with her daughter, Roxanne Heide, on many books, including Oh, Grow Up! and Tio Armando.

Kyle M. Stone (www.kylemstone.com) graduated from The Center for Creative Studies, where he studied traditional illustration and design. He's received a Certificate of Merit from the Society of Illustrators. His picture books include Please Bury Me in the Library (by J. Patrick Lewis), and I Love My Pirate Papa (Laura Leuck). Kyle lives in Michigan.

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