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Straight to the Pole
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About the Author

KEVIN O'MALLEY is the co-author and illustrator of the popular Miss Malarkey series as well as the award-winning Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude and the national bestseller Gimme Cracked Corn and I Will Share. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.
www.booksbyomalley.com

Reviews

Young fans of irony-fortified humor will get a hoot out of O'Malley's snowy spoof. In a blinding blizzard-an evocative, icy watercolor swirl of purple, gray and green splattered with white blobs-the outerwear-swaddled hero bravely trudges through full-bleed spreads blanketed in knee-high drifts. "Must go on," he tells himself, eyes blazing while the rest of his face is sheathed by a scarf, but soon the resolve of this latter-day Shackleton fails. "Can't go on..." he says (for added drama, a word balloon contains the poignantly succinct plea, "Remember me") and collapses in the snow. And then, "Oh no... A Wolf!"-could this be the end of the intrepid hero? Readers will have already guessed that the answer is no (the illustration clearly depicts a friendly, floppy-eared hound). The boy finally lets his melodramatic mien slip, giggling at the animal's wet greeting, while earlier clues-a partially covered hydrant, tasseled hat and brightly colored backpack, plus a word balloon that reads "I told Mom this would happen"-make it comically clear that the stakes may not be as high as the narrator indicates. Finally, the "pole" in question is neither North or South, as O'Malley reveals in the punch line (after the boy is rescued by sled-toting friends bearing the good news that it's a snow day). Guaranteed to elicit giggles from any kid who has worn a snowsuit, this book should inspire new heights of ham. Age 4-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 3-Snuggly bundled from head to toe and carrying an oversized backpack, a young traveler sets out across a frozen landscape. The child bravely pushes on through swirling snowflakes, slipping and sliding through the knee-deep drifts, and finally falls to the ground with a theatrical, "Can't go on." When a floppy-eared dog appears on the horizon, the youngster calls it a wolf and thinks, "I'm doomed. Lost and alone-." After the beast is put at bay with a pat and a hug, two rescuers appear to announce that "school has been closed for the day!" The last page shows the backpack left leaning against the pole mentioned in the title, which holds up the sign for the bus stop. O'Malley maintains a humorous melodramatic tone throughout the brief text, but the real story is in his textured watercolors, which are presented on eye-catching spreads. Attention remains tightly focused on the brightly clothed main character, while the backgrounds glow with dense purples and grays. The blizzardlike conditions and lack of visibility make the protagonist's game of pretend all the more believable. Dialogue balloons containing quips such as "I told Mom this would happen" add to the fun. The short text, simple language, and large print will encourage beginning readers, while the read-aloud crowd will be attracted to the vivid artwork and amusing situation.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"School Library Journal" Best Book of the Year""Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best Award
"Not only does O'Malley display complete mastery of tongue-in-cheek, he's got the martyred attitude of reluctant schoolgoers nailed, from the suffering slouch to the dire last words, 'I told Mom this would happen.'"--"The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books "(starred review)
"The read-aloud crowd will be attracted to the vivid artwork and amusing situation." --"School Library Journal" (starred review)
"Young fans of irony-fortified humor will get a hoot out of O'Malley's snowy spoof. . . . Guaranteed to elicit giggles from any kid who has worn a snowsuit." --"Publishers Weekly"

Not only does O'Malley display complete mastery of tongue-in-cheek, he's got the martyred attitude of reluctant schoolgoers nailed, from the suffering slouch to the dire last words, I told Mom this would happen.' "The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)" The read-aloud crowd will be attracted to the vivid artwork and amusing situation. "School Library Journal (starred review)" Young fans of irony-fortified humor will get a hoot out of O'Malley's snowy spoof. . . . Guaranteed to elicit giggles from any kid who has worn a snowsuit. "Publishers Weekly""


"Not only does O'Malley display complete mastery of tongue-in-cheek, he's got the martyred attitude of reluctant schoolgoers nailed, from the suffering slouch to the dire last words, 'I told Mom this would happen.'" --The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)"The read-aloud crowd will be attracted to the vivid artwork and amusing situation." --School Library Journal (starred review)"Young fans of irony-fortified humor will get a hoot out of O'Malley's snowy spoof. . . . Guaranteed to elicit giggles from any kid who has worn a snowsuit." --Publishers Weekly

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