Billy Tartle in Say Cheese!

Billy Tartle in Say Cheese!

by Michael Townsend
     
 

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How can Billy Tartle make his class picture super-cool? How about a cool haircut—a Mohawk with big spikes! And it must be bright-bright yellow, no pink, no green—well some kinda cool color! Billy's mom just wants him to get a regular old haircut, look handsome, and smile nice—sooo bo-ring! Will Billy be able to outwit her and kindly Barber

Overview

How can Billy Tartle make his class picture super-cool? How about a cool haircut—a Mohawk with big spikes! And it must be bright-bright yellow, no pink, no green—well some kinda cool color! Billy's mom just wants him to get a regular old haircut, look handsome, and smile nice—sooo bo-ring! Will Billy be able to outwit her and kindly Barber Ken?

Of course!

A familiar childhood ritual is given a fresh, nutty spin in this tale of how kids want things to be fun and parents want things to be normal. But everybody will smile when Billy Tartle gets into the picture!

Michael Townsend, a recent graduate of the School of Visual Arts, makes his debut with this fun, loopy story. He lives in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Starred Review, The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 2007:
"[Billy's] adventurous take on reality fits the comic-strip medium perfectly, joining with the straightforward physical comedy of his exploits to add energy."
Publishers Weekly

Townsend's children's debut shows a mischievous sense of humor but an unpolished storytelling style. With school picture day approaching, Billy Tartle needs a haircut. "All my school pictures are soooo boring," Billy complains, as he watches his favorite cartoon, "Supermonkey." Inspired by Supermonkey's coiffure, Billy draws a stick figure with a spiky Mohawk and tells Barber Ken how to style his black hair ("It should have five points.... oh, and it must be pink"). Unfortunately, Billy's mother puts the kibosh on his plan, and Billy is disappointed in the adult-pleasing results. He gets even by grabbing all of the "gooey, juicy, sticky fun pops" in Barber Ken's jar, giving a lollipop to each of his classmates on picture day. Readers learn why in the end: the colorful candies coat kids' teeth with bright dye. "It was Billy Tartle's best picture day ever!" Townsend conveys Billy's stubborn and sly personality, but his pen-and-ink comics suggest notebook doodles, improved with sharp rectangular layouts and intense digitized color. Billy has a wavering, wide smile and a toddler's clumsy gestures, and the picture-day plot doesn't quite sustain the book. Still, readers with a rascally bent will likely get a kick out of Billy's overactive imagination and puckish behavior. Ages 5-8. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3
Mischievous and energetic Billy Tartle can't bear the thought of another boring photograph for picture day at school. He tries to convince the barber to give him a pink Mohawk like his TV favorite, "Supermonkey," but his mother and the barber nix the idea. Instead, he provides "fun pops" for all his classmates, a colorful candy that results in a hilarious and unforgettable class picture. The comic-book style with dialogue bubbles is fun for kids to pore over as they notice the many details. The illustrations are done in pen and ink with digital coloring and the end result is sharp and bright.
—Linda M. KentonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
Billy's plans to liven up his class picture are derailed, but only temporarily in this engaging, comic-strip-style debut. Despite precise instructions to the barber to give him a spiky pink 'do like his TV hero Supermonkey, Billy ends up looking, as he puts it, "normal." What a bummer. Being a lad given to pushing the envelope, however, he doesn't give up, and even though subsequent efforts like trying to go to school wearing only a tie and underwear ("Mom, you only said I have to wear a tie.") don't get far, he triumphs in the end. Townsend tells the nearly all-dialogue tale in large, digitally colored panels featuring stylized but simply drawn figures with Little Orphan Annie eyes and, in the children at least, a definite predilection for tomfoolery. He's clearly still in touch with his inner mischief-maker, and so should have no trouble connecting to his young audience. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375839320
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
07/10/2007
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.16(w) x 10.29(h) x 0.36(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

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