A "big, hairy, kid-eating monster" looms large in Birdseye's (Look Out, Jack! The Giant Is Back!) flawed cumulative ode to spooky backyard campouts. Pitched in a pup tent on a moonlit night, two boys try to scare-and dare-each other with ever-taller tales ("I could stay out here all night in the dark even if... there were spiders dangling over my head!" "I could stay out here all night in the dark even if there were spiders dangling over my head and... snakes slithering around my feet!"). The boys escalate their war of words with the taunt, "Oh yeah?", and their imaginations spill over onto the page, which teem with creepy-crawlies like 20-foot crocodiles and fire-breathing dragons. But Long's (The Day My Runny Nose Ran Away) cluttered, at times unfocused illustrations coupled with dense, hard-to-read typography may be off-putting to readers. Birdseye elongates each episode to the point where the climax (when a big, hairy kid-eating monster makes its inevitable appearance) loses steam. Young readers who, like the heroes, stick it out get rewarded with a message about bravery (when the boys rescue their stuffed animals: "In a flash we were out in the dark... `We'll save you!' we shouted") and discover that the monster isn't always what it appears. Unfortunately, most kids will have figured that out already. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Our narrator and his friend Jared play the game of trying to scare each other while camped out in the backyard. Each boasts of bravery while describing possible horrors: spiders, snakes, crocodiles, saber-toothed tigers. The reply is always "Oh Yeah?" They raise the ante to fire-breathing dragons plus going without their stuffed animal friends. The arrival of "a big, hairy, kid-eating monster" sends them diving back into their tent. But they must go out again to save their animals. Courageously they face the "monster," which looks a lot like a pet dog, then insist that they are really brave. "Oh yeah?" "Yeah." Long visualizes these scenes of accumulating "horrors" in a stylized manner, using colored pencil and acrylics for texture, primarily reds, yellows, and black for emotional impact, with exaggerated shapes to enhance the feelings. Shrubbery and trees are cutout flat shapes with saw-toothed edges that echo the teeth of the imagined dragons. The double pages are carefully laid out and designed. Readers can recognize familiar fears while they laugh. 2003, Holiday House,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-During a backyard camp out, two boys boast of their courage as they describe an ever-escalating, cumulative parade of creatures that wouldn't scare them. With rejoinders of "Oh yeah?" each child tries to outdo the other in detailing the spiders, snakes, crocodiles, and dragons that he would take on. Their bragging takes them out of the tent, where they leave their stuffed animals by the maple tree to show their incredible bravery. When they are startled into a mad dash back inside by a noise they take for a "kid-eating monster," they accidentally leave their toys behind. The youngsters find their courage, charge out, and rescue the stuffed animals from- a family dog. Children who enjoy a good scare will delight in the imaginary big-eyed, slithering, stalking, dangling critters that crowd the pages in increasing numbers. The depiction of the "monster" at the climax is startling enough to scare the other creatures away (but not readers). The colored-pencil and acrylic cartoon illustrations burst with energy in fiery yellows, oranges, and reds, and feature jagged edges and the deliciously menacing imagined threats that become part of the action. For libraries looking for books about courage and kids looking for tales about monsters, this is a good choice for one-on-one or group sharing. Oh yeah!-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Two boys camping out in the backyard have a war of words and one-upmanship. One claims to be able to stay out all night in the dark, and the other says he can do the same with the added horror of spiders hanging over his head. Competition escalates, each actually becoming more frightened, until both are scared back into the tent by a little white dog . . . er, a big, hairy, kid-eating monster. Birdseye's text will probably strike a chord and tickle the funny bone of many young "brave" campers. Long's wild acrylic-and-colored-pencil illustrations show the menacing, monstrous wildlife crowding around the boys as their boasting mounts. The muted pallet of rusts, aquas, and tans, fitting since it's dark, might put some off, but the whole is a nice addition to the fear-of-the-dark and camping canons. (Picture book. 4-8)