cover image Once Upon a Slime

Once Upon a Slime

Andy Maxwell, illus. by Samantha Cotterill. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-39326-3

Green slime makes a winning story ingredient, and newcomer Maxwell gives it a workout in this fairy tale whodunit. The slime lands first on Goldilocks’s head when she pays a courtesy call to the three bears (“Sure, they’d gotten off to a rocky start, what with the whole porridge thing”). The four of them search for the guilty party, and after bumping into the Little Red Riding Hood crew, another slime attack strikes the whole group (“I should potch you right in the schnozzle, Wolfie!” Granny says, though it’s not the Wolf’s fault). More familiar characters appear, more slime drops, and snappy rejoinders proliferate until the author himself appears above the book like an Olympian god, making excuses to his characters as they appeal to him from the pages of their story. (Even he’s not the real culprit, as it turns out.) Cotterill’s ink-and-watercolor spreads have a cheerful, retro vibe and excel in capturing the frowns and grimaces provoked by the slime epidemic. Though there’s little that’s new in this remix of fairy tale humor, it’s fast-moving and gross enough to make a diverting readaloud. Ages 4–8. [em]Agent for both: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (July) [/em]