Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables

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9780670881352: Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables
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A FableThere once was an Eagle and a Lion who had worked together on a lot of books. They did The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!, The Stinky Cheese Man, and Math Curse.?Everyone is waiting for Science Curse,? said their editor, Queen Bee.?Okay,? said Eagle Scieszka and Lion Smith. ?So why don?t we make a book of weird fables with strange morals and call is Squids Will Be Squids?And they did.MORAL: With these guys, you just never know.Fables have been around for a very long time. Aesop was famous for telling them, although he wasn?t the first?or the best-looking. Now from the incomparable team who stood fairy tales on their heads with The Stinky Cheese Man, come fables as you?ve never heard them before. There?s the story of ?Little Walrus,? who tells just a little too much of the truth, and the morality tale of the boastful ?Piece of Toast and Fruit Loops.? We read of Slug, so busy admiring herself that she doesn?t see the steamroller behind her, and learn the wise lessons of ?Hand, Foot, and Tongue? (Moral: There are some things we don?t talk about at the dinner table).In their inimitable style, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith have created contemporary fables that reflect all the bossiness, sneakiness, bragging and silliness of our everyday lives. Of course, these tales are handled with such tact and sensitivity that we would never recognize a person like ourselves in them?would we?Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith are an enormously popular and highly acclaimed author and illustrator team. Mr. Scieszka perfected his keen ear for juvenile humor as an elementary school teacher. He now writes full time. Mr. Smith is a filmmaker as well as a writer and illustrator. He recently designed the characters for the film version of Roald Dahl?s James and the Giant Peach. Jon Scieszka lives in Brooklyn, New York. Lane Smith lives in New York City.

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Review:

Every once in a while a book crosses our desks that makes us sit quietly delighted--except for a few squeaks of unmitigated joy--and this oversized, energized, stylized, highly prized book of fables is one of them. Jon Scieszka has a simple philosophy of the fable: "If you can't say something nice about someone, change the guy's name to Donkey or Squid." After all, the alleged Aesop did it. Squids Will Be Squids offers lessons such as "Everyone knows frogs can't skateboard, but it's kind of sad that they believe everything they see on TV." Sure, it's goofy, but it's also saying to kids, "Don't believe everything you see on TV." In "Duckbilled Platypus vs. Beefsnakstick," the bragging platypus and his beefy buddy teach us "Just because you have a lot of stuff, don't think you're so special." Of course, there is nothing heavy-handed here--morals such as "He who smelt it, dealt it" and "Elephants never forget, except sometimes" satirically prance amid the more heartfelt snippets of sagacity.

Scieszka and illustrator Lane Smith are unparalleled in their eccentricity and unrelenting in their boyish, twisted-yet-innocent zeal. In co-creations from The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales to The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs to Math Curse, Scieszka's wacko sense of humor and Smith's quirky, always gorgeous artwork thrillingly congeal in Molly Leach's creative, exuberant design. We see many picture books that are better suited for adults than kids, but this fine specimen is truly meant for goofballs of all ages. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustration © 1998 Lane Smith, reproduced with permission of Viking, a division of Penguin Putnam.) (All ages) --Karin Snelson

About the Author:

Multiple award-winning author Jon Scieszka grew up in Flint, Michigan, the second oldest and the nicest of six boys. Jon went to school at Culver Military Academy in Indiana where he was a Lieutenant; Albion College in Michigan where he studied to be a doctor; and Columbia University in New York, where he received an M.F.A. in fiction. He taught elementary school in New York for ten years in a variety of positions. He is the author of many books for children including the New York Times Best Illustrated Book The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (illustrated by Lane Smith), the Caldecott Honor book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (illustrated by Lane Smith), and Math Curse (illustrated by Lane Smith).  In addition to his work as an author, Jon also runs a web-based literacy program called “Guys Read” that is designed to encourage boys, particularly reluctant readers, to get involved with books. In 2008, Jon was named the country’s first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, a joint effort of the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council. During his two-year role as Ambassador, he acted as a spokesperson for children’s literature, speaking to groups of parents, teachers, and children to encourage the importance of reading. You can visit Jon online at www.jsworldwide.com.

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