John Grisham Turns Juvenile

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John Grisham

Penguin Young Readers will be publishing a new series for children by John Grisham.  The series is entitled Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer and features a 13-year-old protagonist who is the son of two attorneys.  The new series is for ages 8-12.

This first book in the series is due out in June.

Grisham has a forthcoming legal thriller for adults due out in October.

The Boys

The Boys by Jeff Newman

I only opened this book to get a feel for the sort of book it was.  I was immediately captivated by the art, the wordless story.  I set it down with misty eyes and a wide smile.  What a book! 

My problem is that I want you to discover it and I don’t want to mess any of its wonder of wordlessness up for you.  I’ve tried to put words to it, but it seems to minimize the story, as if pinning it down removes the life from it.  So I will briefly tell you the premise and proceed to gush about it in more general terms. 

A young boy moves to a new town.  He heads to the park with his bat, ball and glove.  He watches from behind a tree but is too shy to approach the playing children on the baseball diamond.  So he plunks himself down on a bench near some older gentlemen.  The story continues from there.  It is fresh, winning, and sweetly surprising.  There is a universal quality to it, a subtle humor, and a lovely simplicity.

Newman has created a book that is an instant classic.  His use of a vintage style works well with the subject, giving the book a timeless feel.  The only words in the book are the days of the week as time passes, otherwise all of the story is told in the illustrations.  Newman tells this story in the slump of shoulders, bowed head, glaring eyes, and a determined set of a jaw.  There is never any doubt what the young boy is feeling because it is shown so clearly and yet with subtle skill.

Get this book, read it, read it again (because you must) and then decide what lucky person you will hand it to next.  It is a book to read with someone on your lap, to savor and to simply enjoy.  Let me know what you think.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Also reviewed by Fuse #8.

The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow

The Big Fat Cow that Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton

This beginning reader features ten very short stories that are silly, raucous and great fun.  The book starts with a story where it is raining big fat cows, then tells the stories of Noel the Mole, Klaus the Mouse, and Willy the Worm.  The fun continues with human protagonists who ride bikes with spikes and wear lots of hats all at once.  All of the stories are told with only a few words, allowing the illustrations to carry a lot of the humor.  An ideal read for children who are reluctant to start reading, thanks to the humor that will keep the pages turning.

Griffiths has a great feel for comedy, offering surprising twists and turns in only a few words.  His writing has a similar feel to Dr. Seuss’ Ten Apples Up on Top in its brevity and rhyming.  Denton’s illustrations have a great frenzied feel.  They are filled with motion and wild characters.  I for one cannot resist a book where cows explode and udders go flying across the page.  Must be a Wisconsin thing. 

This is sure to find an eager audience among beginning readers who are looking for modern humor and silliness.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

Also reviewed by Becky at Young Readers.