Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


Fall 2005 Picture Books
Ages: 2 & Up
Author: Jon Agee
Illustrator: Jon Agee
ISBN: 0-7868-5184-8
Hardcover Price: $15.95
The only thing gloomy, sardonic Eugene (hometown - Dismal, ND) can say when he wins an all-expense paid trip to Bermuda is “Terrific. I'll probably get a really nasty sunburn.” As disaster follows disaster, he meets each and every one with a kind of dour relish until a talking parrot with a busted wing teaches him a whole new meaning for the title word.

Carefully confined illustrations depicting Eugene at his most recalcitrant (e.g., wearing his drab brown checked overcoat on a sunny desert isle) are balanced by loosely constructed vignettes when he forgets to act like a total grump. Big, bold, and blocky, the pictures are as simple as the text and every bit as expressive in this clever unsentimental homage to the transformative power of friendship.

Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2005 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.

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