Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his debut children's book, Nickle brushes on five-alarm acrylics to set the stage for Barrett's (Pickles to Pittsburgh) energetically loony look at superlatives. Playing off such prize material as "the jumpiest thing in the world is two thousand two hundred twenty-two toads on a trampoline," the artist employs a flamboyant arsenal of colors in a succession of excessive scenarios featuring a cast of oddball critters: a pink-beribboned pram-pushing mother flea (a dog collar is visible in the background), an ant windsurfing in a bowl of pea soup and a T-rex in underpants (weighing in as "the heaviest thing in the world"). Nickle makes hay with Barrett's eccentric jokes, and the resulting delicious absurdities should inspire both giggles and creativity in readers, who are invited to fill in the blanks on the final page with their own "thing that's most in the world." Ages 3-7. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
Have you ever thought what it would be like to live inside a pincushion, or to be at a skunk convention? Would you like to see a fire-breathing dragon that eats pizza? These are some of the silly, wacky images presented in this delightful children's book. The bright colors and outlandish possibilities will open the imaginations of preschool children. Parents who love to read to their children will want a bright, sunny Saturday morning to read this one. This is not a quiet bedtime story because it brings a laugh on every page. Teachers of preschoolers will want to check this one out for activity time. The author's art background is well represented here, and children will finish this tale wanting to draw pictures of their own "most in the world." 1998 (orig.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 1-4In this book of superlatives, imagination reigns. What is the jumpiest thing in the world? "Two thousand two hundred twenty-two toads on a trampoline." Each double-page spread features an adjective (e.g., hottest, smelliest, stickiest) highlighted in a bright color along with a creative idea of what the adjective could be describing. Readers are introduced to a wiggly snake on a skate, a windsurfing ant, and other equally bizarre creations. Amusing acrylic illustrations aptly blend realism with fantasy. There is a pleasing continuity of text to pictures as the color of the highlighted word is repeated in the matching illustration. Use this book as a jumping off point to set students' imaginations free or choose it for perhaps the liveliest lesson in comparative adjectives.Anne Knickerbocker, formerly at Cedar Brook Elementary School, Houston, TX
Goofy superlatives are showcased in this book from Barrett, some clever, some slightly mawkish, all shaped by a particular brand of humor that will either work for readers or leave them flat. For example: "The quietest thing in the world is a worm chewing peanut butter" has the ring of inspiration to it, whereas "the silliest thing in the world is a chicken in a frog costume" won't tickle everyone's funny bone. "The heaviest thing in the world is a Tyrannosaurus rex weighing itself" is just plain confusing, as is the art that accompanies the "teensie-weensiest" thinga newborn flea; when scaled against the watchband in Nickle's vibrant illustration, the flea is not so small, and its mother is enormous. The least successful statements are those that run to nonsense; the most successful are the ones based in a grain of truth: Most readers will agree with the poetic notion that the "the highest thing in the world is the very top of the sky." (Picture book. 3-7)