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This young boy has a plan for a perfect school picture. There are, however, a few bumps. Insane bed-head. A stained shirt. A large syrup disaster at breakfast. A paint splattering in art. It's a nightmarish swirl of problems leading to the moment of truth where it's revealed that the boy's plan isn't what we thought it was all along. Diesen has created a memorably grinchy hero, whose cynical observations and grumpy disposition make him the kind of harmless bad boy it's hard not to like. He scowls and mugs through double-page, full-page, and smaller illustrations, which the ever-reliable Santat renders with comic aplomb, preferring to pose his antihero straight toward the reader for maximum pop-eyed appeal. Side characters are similarly exaggerated for immediate identification: the jowly, pearled teacher; the heavy-browed bus driver. For such a bad attitude, this is a pretty darn good time.--Kraus, Daniel Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal
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Gr 1-3-Bold, exaggerated images done in Adobe Photoshop set the comedic stage for this story of picture-day preparation, which for the narrator began months in advance. All the preplanning culminates at the start of the book on picture-day morning with severe bed head, a favorite shirt rescued (stained and smelly) from the bottom of the hamper, and a sticky maple-syrup incident. Things continue on in this vein throughout the school day. Readers will wonder about the narrator's choices considering his professed devotion to taking the perfect picture. Carefully worded text gives away nothing, but as the photographer prepares his camera the real plan for the day comes clearly into focus. The child's idea of the perfect picture may look quite different from what his mother had in mind, and it is still not easy to orchestrate the outcome of a photograph. Colorful yearbook-style endpapers are fun to pore over and even include a place to insert one's own picture, though this feature will be compromised by most library processing. This slapstick picture book will appeal most to school-age kids who will get the jokes peppered throughout the text and the visuals.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Things could not be going more wrong for the narrator on school picture day, which starts with "the worst case of bedhead ever" and a maple syrup accident, then culminates in some serious paint spattering during art class. What a disaster on the very day one is being captured for posterity-or is it? What if the boy is actually running a long con, and his idea of perfection is in fact a photo that captures "my perfectly tangled hair, my perfectly rumpled shirt, my perfectly sticky face, my perfectly composed scowl"? Diesen (The Pout-Pout Fish) and Santat (The Three Ninja Pigs) are good-natured storytellers, and Santat's expertise in exaggeration is just what the premise ordered (as the camera prepares to flash, the boy becomes a dead ringer for the Grinch). While the narrator's personality never quite gels-either as sad sack or messy mastermind-Diesen and Santat unveil the narrator's secret at just the right moment, before unloading another twist that should trigger photo-worthy grins. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media Group. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.