It's not just what you say, it's how you say it. Reprising the ultrasimplified storytelling of Good News, Bad News, Mack uses just a few interjections (and just two letters)--"AH HA," "AAHH," and "HA HA"--to capture an impressive range of emotions while telling a story that's as funny as it is fraught with incident. Frog just wants to kick back and loll in the sun, but no one else got the memo. A kid tries to take him home in a jar, and Frog's fellow ecosystem inhabitants (a turtle, gator, and flamingo) want him for a snack. "AH HA" can evoke the joy of finding the perfect snoozing place, the triumph of outfoxing a predator, or the apparently imminent triumph of said predator; "AAHH" can be a sigh of relief or Mack's version of the Wilhelm scream. Read-alouds ought to be gripping performances, with ample opportunities for audience interaction. But this is more than just a great script: it's gorgeous, too, with lush and tightly composed images, hypersaturated colors, and textures reminiscent of midcentury printing. Ages 3-5. Agent: Rubin Pfeffer, East West Literary Agency. (Aug.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 1--This nearly wordless book follows the format of Mack's Good News, Bad News (Chronicle, 2012). The text, though, is pared down to just word balloons of "AH HA!" and "AAHH!" with one "HA HA!" thrown in for good measure. Each character gets its own color for the word balloons (frog-purple, flamingo-blue, boy-yellow, etc.). The story follows the adventures of a frog who is caught in a jar by a boy and his dog ("AH HA!"). Don't worry, he escapes ("AAHH!") but lands on the back of a hungry turtle ("AH HA!") from whom he leaps away to escape being eaten ("AAHH!"), only to find himself on the back of an even hungrier crocodile ("AH HA!"). And so it goes from croc to flamingo leg and then back into the jar to the final escape ("AH HA!"). The artwork expertly captures all the action, and the animals' expressions are priceless. From happiness, pleasure, and joy to fear, anger, and smugness, Mack nails them all. The book would be great fun to read aloud, using varying tones and inflections. Pair it with Remy Charlip's Fortunately (S & S, 1961), Michael Foreman's Fortunately, Unfortunately (Andersen, 2011), and, of course, Good News, Bad News for storytimes exploring the good and the bad in as few words as possible.--Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH[Page 82]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.