First published in Germany, this companion to Könnecke’s Anton Can Do Magic (2011) digs in deeper, as Anton and a friend/rival named Luke engage in a festival of one-upmanship. “I can carry a whole piano. I’m much stronger than you. And much, much louder!” says Luke. “I’m even louder than you,” retorts Anton, appearing with a bass drum. “Louder! Louder!! Louder!!!” That Anton and Luke are warring only with words is shown by the piano, bass drum, and other objects under discussion, which Könnecke draws as imaginary objects in red and blue outline. Mallets (“I’ll flatten you!”), bombs, tigers, and four-headed dragons are invoked, one after another, and the only thing that silences the two boys is the appearance of a small puppy—a real one—which sends them scrambling into a tree, in contrast to all their brave talk. Könnecke’s sturdy clear-line drawings may remind older readers of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, and he doesn’t need irony or snark to deliver an on-target picture of the bluster of boyhood. Ages 3�up. (Mar.)
Young Anton comes through the grass, humming a tune, large feathered hat on his head. He is met by Luke topped with a Viking helmet. “I’m stronger than you,” challenges Anton. Luke laughs. And so the competition begins. Anton lifts a big stone; Luke lifts a bigger one. Anton carries three logs; Luke a piano. Each beats a drum, ever “Louder!!!” They move on in their imaginations to bomb versus TNT, to ever bigger bombs, to fighting tigers, lions, and dragons in the air, until a “big” dog appears and barks. Both boys flee, climbing opposing trees, and are stuck there, but still bragging. When the dog finally leaves, they climb down, only to race each other in a new challenge. The two cartoon-y boys are fully drawn in color, while sometimes their challenges are only sketched around them. The sparse text in large type works with the illustrations to effectively convey the playful spirit of typical young boys. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz AGERANGE: Ages 3 to 6.
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
PreS-Gr 1—Anton's in a great mood. He strolls onto a sparsely decorated white page in his enormous Musketeers hat, humming a tune. "Here comes Anton." But when Luke arrives on the following page, insouciant in his horned Viking headgear, Anton's face darkens. Trouble starts immediately. One is stronger than the other; no, he isn't. One is louder; no, the other's even louder than he is. With imaginary props (outlined in blue for Anton and red for Luke)-boulders, logs, drums, and eventually weapons of mass destruction-the boys' rivalry escalates. "I'll blow you up!" "Dare you! Dare you!" Only the entry of something both Luke and Anton are actually afraid of slows them down-a small dog-but not for long. While it's uncomfortable talking about weapons, even imaginary ones, in relation to children, this funny story is a refreshing admission of the way children interact with their instinct for dominance. The layout features generous white backgrounds against which Anton and Luke look small, bright, and wonderfully alive. A small treasure.—Susan Weitz, formerly at Spencer-Van Etten School District, Spencer, NY
Little boys and their (imaginary) toys make for a very real story of rivalry and friendship. Anton wears a swashbuckling hat with a feather; Luke wears a Viking sort of helmet. The two boys meet in the slightest suggestion of outdoors: a bit of squiggly grass drawn on white space. Anton announces to Luke: "I'm stronger than you," to which Luke retorts, "Very funny!"--and so it begins. Anton lifts a stone "this big," while Luke lifts one "THIS big!" Escalation escalates. Luke carries a whole piano, so he is stronger and much, much louder. But Anton retaliates with drums. By the time they get to bombs and swinging tigers and lions by the tail, alert children with see that the red and blue outlines of their bigger-louder-stronger tools are really floating on the white background of their imaginations. But then, a "big dog" chases both up a tree (children will notice it is actually a cute little puppy), and the boys begin to compare how hungry they are and how big a cake they will eat if they ever get down. Which they do, arguing about who is faster all the way home. Five-year-olds the world over (this was first published in Germany) will recognize the conversations and the friendship in this sweet book
. (Picture book. 4-8)