Elliott's (An Alphabet of Rotten Kids!) light and jaunty tale introduces four friends who decide to launch a club. In four short chapters, animated by Meisel's (How to Talk to Your Cat) snappy watercolor-and-ink illustrations, the quartet wrestles with the challenges of finding a name, clubhouse, mascot and raison d' tre for their club. The discussions surrounding the headquarters and mascot receive the most diverting text and visuals. After rejecting for a clubhouse the options of Phoebe's food-littered bedroom and Marcus's room (also occupied by his incessantly jabbering baby brother), the pals tape together two cardboard refrigerator boxes and construct a place of their own. And Leo's dog, Noodles, makes a comical, Snoopy-like attempt to demonstrate his many talents as the members list the ideal attributes of a club mascot. Quick-paced dialogue, brief sentences and a generous smattering of art make this a solid choice for youngsters ready to step up from picture books. The publisher's catalogue promises another adventure with these club members in the near future. Ages 6-8. (June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Four chapters, in what may become a series, chronicle the origin of the Cool Crazy Crickets club. We meet the variously hued kids, two boys and two girls, who are working out the club name. Then, they need to find a clubhouse, consider their own bedrooms as ultimately unsuitable, and finally make their own clubhouse. A refrigerator delivery person provides two huge boxes and the result is a nifty hand-decorated new clubhouse. The third chapter introduces the term "mascot" and different pets are considered but the personable dog Noodles finally earns it paws down. The last chapter is a letdown because the issue is whether the club will have a purpose beyond being friends. (No. That's it). However, Meisel's cheerful cartoon illustrations, his perfect eye for children's artwork and dress will attract readers ready for more than the I-Can-Read level but not quite ready for Polk Street School or Junie B. Jones. Plenty of conversation, lots of white space, and text doled out a little at a time give the book an approachable look. And the characters seem like people that you would like to have as your own neighbors. A good addition to the second-grade shelf. 2000, Candlewick, Ages 6 to 8, $14.99. Reviewer: Susan HeplerChildren's Literature
Gr 1-3-This engaging early chapter book follows Leo and Marcus and their friends as they organize a neighborhood club, "The Cool Crazy Crickets." While the members experience minimal decision-making dilemmas and outcomes are predictable, Elliott's characters and his re-creation of children's language ring true. The dialogue is humorous and the comical pup mascot provides additional chuckles. Meisel's colorful watercolor-and-ink cartoons bring the multi- cultural suburban neighborhood to life and draw readers into the club's activities as well.-Kate McLean, Dekalb County Public Library, Tucker, GA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In four short chapters, Elliott (An Alphabet of Rotten Kids, 1991) has created a breezy summertime read in which a group of friends form a club. It's a hot summer day when Leo and Marcus decide to create a club with Miranda and Phoebe. The four youngsters debate amongst themselves, playfully bandying about names for the club such as "Doodles" and "Piñatas" until finally settling on "The Cool Crazy Crickets." But now the question arises of where the club will reside. What's a club without a clubhouse? After some searching they tape together two refrigerator boxes, each youngster contributing to the overall aesthetics of the hideout. As the blithesome tale proceeds, the group decides on their mascotNoodles, the pet dog that scampers through the storyand, lastly, just what kind of club they are. This quandary proves to be the most irksome, but finally, as three of them are just about to abandon the clubhouse, Leo has a brilliant solution dubbing them the "F.F.L." club: Friends For Life. Meisel's (The Tortoise and the Hare, 1998, etc.) artwork is active and rollicking, depicting a multicultural cast of characters in flushed watercolors outlined in ink. Bringing to light carefree summer days and the intimacy of hideouts with good friends, Elliott highlights the benefits of working as a group and the rewards of compromise. (Picture book. 6-8)