cover image That's Not Funny!

That's Not Funny!

Jeanne Willis, illus. by Adrian Reynolds, Andersen Press USA (Lerner, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-6445-0

With the careful placement of a banana peel, a hyena with a serious case of schadenfreude sets off a chaotic series of misfortunes. Giraffe slips on the peel and skids "straight into a tree—KER-RANG!" which causes a coconut to fall on Hippo, making him step on Snake, who bites Ostrich, and so on. Hyena, ignoring his friends' indignant repetition of the phrase "That's not funny!" cackles away—until his prank lands him in a pile of elephant poop. Reynolds—who previously worked with Willis on Who's in the Bathroom?—contributes cartoony watercolors that play up the numerous animals' expressions of anger and shock. The message is more "what goes around comes around" than "be nice"—as Hyena slinks away into the sunset, the other animals, who so resented Hyena's howling, guffaw just as heartily at Hyena's predicament as he did at theirs. Those looking for a morality lesson won't find it—this story is all about the pratfall. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)