When I heard Melanie Watt had a new book coming out, I was delighted. I have long been a Chester fan; he is a staple for all my school visits and tours, and I frequently recommend Scaredy Squirrel.
I got my first glimpse of Watt's newest story when I was at ALA last summer. My first thought was...but...but...it's not pretty!
And it's definitely not. The color scheme is a revolting orange, green and brown and the main character - the only character - is smarmy, oily salesman Mr. Al Foxword whose whole aim is to pressure you, the reader, into buying the one thing you desperately need: this book.
Like Mac Barnett's delightfully illogical picture books, Billy Twitters and the Blue Whale Problem and Guess Again!, this book is wasted on the toddler and preschool crowd. Some kids might pick up a few jokes, but the ideal audience is a group of second graders who have just figured out the whole concept of "subtle humor".
Verdict: An older audience is going to pick up on the parody of a pushy salesman, offering useless incentives, weird uses, and all-out hilarity as Mr. Al Foxword convinces you to buy his book....one way or another!
ISBN: 978-1554532896; Published August 2009 by Kids Can Press; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates