Mustache!

Mac Barnett, illus. by Kevin Cornell. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-1671-4
King Duncan “spent every Royal Day admiring his Royal Reflection, and not doing much else. Which is why his kingdom was such a Royal Mess.” When his subjects revolt, King Duncan’s solution—yet another giant billboard of his royal visage, this one declaring, “I’m Great!”—forces them to use the graffitisti’s most potent weapon: the scribbled mustache. Duncan, naturally, is outraged, and his attempts to ferret out the culprit result in even more absurdity. Barnett’s (Oh No!: Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) gift for humor is as sharp as ever, and Cornell (The Trouble with Chickens) holds his own in scenes filled with visual gags. Cornell has a particular love of signage (the angry mob’s posters read, “Better Ladders for Potholes” and “Read Our Signs!”) and statuary (the king is memorialized conquering such menaces as a surprised puffer fish and an apathetic walrus), and the half-lidded eyes of his subjects telegraph their frustration with their ruler. Barnett’s light touch with the ending is just right, avoiding dreary moralizing. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/05/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
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