Phooey!

Overview

When a restless red-headed boy proclaims: "Nothing ever happens around here!" (And who hasn't heard that complaint at home?), he kicks a can and sets into motion a series of wonderfully hilarious slapstick events that happen behind him—and because of him. With elephants on parade, pirates around every corner, pies flying, and oranges on the loose, Rosenthal creates an adventure-filled world that is anything BUT boring! Kids will love the silly sounds that abound (Skree, Boing, ...

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Overview

When a restless red-headed boy proclaims: "Nothing ever happens around here!" (And who hasn't heard that complaint at home?), he kicks a can and sets into motion a series of wonderfully hilarious slapstick events that happen behind him—and because of him. With elephants on parade, pirates around every corner, pies flying, and oranges on the loose, Rosenthal creates an adventure-filled world that is anything BUT boring! Kids will love the silly sounds that abound (Skree, Boing, Ploink), making Phooey! a feast for the eyes and ears.

Talented artist Marc Rosenthal presents a madcap tour-de-farce, with excitement and surprises on every page.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Slapstick gags and droll sound effects drive this vaudevillian picture book, which stylishly updates a classic plot. "Phooey!" says a scowling boy as he kicks a tin can. "Nothing... ever... happens... around here!" Between each word of his sentence, readers observe the flight of the can, which bumps a napping cat from a branch and wakes a sleeping dog at the foot of the tree. The boy, too busy glaring at the sidewalk and complaining, doesn't hear the pursued cat's "yowlll," nor does he notice the strolling cowboys (not even the pirate with a knife in his teeth who lurks under manhole covers and around corners). The boy stomps along while, in the background, the cat spooks an elephant, which gallops out of the zoo and, in true silent-movie fashion, knocks free a barrel of kippered herring. Page after page, Rosenthal's (Dig!) unframed panels track the chain reaction. The rolling barrel hits a painter's ladder ("sploosh"), a pie hits the pirate in the face ("ploink"). and so on-multi-size, hand-lettered onomatopoeia adds to the fun. Along the way, Mr. Negativity meets a girl who politely glances around but never contradicts him; aptly, the conclusion finds them in front of an optometrist's shop. In his pliable line drawings, sunny watercolor palette and quaint town setting, Rosenthal salutes '30s and '40s comic strips and children's classics. Admirers of the de Brunhoffs, the Reys and Ludwig Bemelmans ought to get a kick out of this escalating romp. Ages 4-8. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Mary Hynes-Berry
This delightful visual Rube Goldberg contrivance relies on onomatopoeic exclamations and labels as a bored little boy insists that "Nothing ever happens around here." The joke, of course, is that Rosenthal's drawing are filled with an elaborate sequence of actions and reactions, set off by the tin can the boy kicks. The can hits a cat, who falls on a dog, who chases him through the zoo, releasing an elephant and disturbing two pirates and a clown and on and on. Though the boy manages to miss it all, all ends happily as the cat literally is catapulted into the boy's arms. The page format is very reminiscent of a comic book, although the panels are not boxed in. Not surprising, perhaps, given that one of Rosenthal's previous offerings is the Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids. He also cheerfully acknowledges his homage to Barbar. Though the book is technically for children, it is likely to have a strong appeal across generations.
School Library Journal

K-Gr 4
When he kicks an empty can of cat food from a lawn, a boy who repeats, "Nothing ever happens around here" triggers a chain reaction of mishaps that ultimately changes his mind about his neighborhood. The can hits a sleeping cat, who is chased by a dog through a town populated by pirates, a policeman, a zookeeper, cowboys, and a woman with a funny hat. The bored boy remains oblivious to the havoc that continues when an elephant, frightened by the chase, breaks free from the zoo. It sets loose a rolling barrel of kippered herring that hits a ladder and spills a painter's bucket, causing the baker's tray full of pies to go flying. The antics continue through the town, until the elephant halts abruptly to enjoy a lost bag of peanuts, sending the cat spiraling through the air and into the boy's arms. "This place is great!," the boy exclaims as the cuddly cat purrs next to his smiling face. Color cartoon drawings show the humorous progression of the chaotic events in a nearly wordless layout that balances detailed activity with white space so the eye can rest. Facial expressions and onomatopoeia add to the wackiness of the scenes. Best enjoyed one-on-one or with a small group, the book is sure to win over its audience.
—Julie R. RanelliCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
A retro comic-strip style and a classic slapstick premise give rise to a side-splitting visual romp. "PHOOEY!" shouts a little boy (whose resemblance to Tintin is striking) as he kicks a tin can into the air. "Nothing ever happens around here!" The oblivious boy grouses his way through town as the kicked can sets off a chain of events that result in perfect chaos: In short order, an elephant has escaped from a zoo, barrels are rolling down the streets, pies are flying, umbrellas are poking ladies in the rear and so on-as the little boy continues his lament. Each perfectly paced page vibrates with energy, quick sequences leading to hilariously busy full-page spreads. Sound effects fill the page, "flumps," "boinks," "splooshes" and "poits" creating a visual cacophony and making the protagonist's obtuseness even funnier. Any adherence to logical reality is happily abandoned to the series of gags, so one subplot involves skulking, peg-legged pirates. Sprinkled throughout are other homages to classics of yore-a man with a yellow hat and the Cafe Celeste details-that complement the sunny palette and gentle style. Priceless. (Picture book. 4-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060752484
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 6/26/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 4 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Rosenthal is an acclaimed designer and sequential artist and the illustrator of many books for children, including Yo, Aesop! (written by his brother, Paul Rosenthal); The Runaway Beard; The Absentminded Fellow; And Dig! In 2001, Art Spiegelman asked Mr. Rosenthal to try his hand at comics, and the result was published in Little Lit: Strange Stories for Strange Kids. Mr. Rosenthal lives in the Berkshires with his wife, Eileen, his son, Willem, and Wayne the Cat.

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