cover image BAD NEWS! I'M IN CHARGE!


Bruce Ingman, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2072-1

Ingman (When Martha's Away) once again wields delectably artless acrylics and a wicked sense of humor. Using his trusty metal detector, Danny discovers a box containing a "charter" that declares him "the new owner and ruler of this land." He delivers the titular line to his parents and enacts largely predictable changes: "1. Stay up late/ 2. Chips with everything/ 3. Snacks all the time." A spread of students bringing their pets to class (rule #10) demonstrates "School was so much more fun" as children sit at desks with pandas, monkeys and rabbits. Ingman may go over the heads of younger audience members with references to Danny's "special ops squad," and a "central bureau" that informs him of the down side of his new job—judging cabbage competitions and attending operas. Danny subsequently farms out the dirty work to a "cabinet" of adults that includes a "Secretary of Being Polite" and a "Secretary of Boring Things." The type follows along the edges of the spread, encircling the long table around which they convene. Ingman's illustrations will likely charm all ages. His intriguing compositions mix delightfully unfinished elements—line drawings of floating heads, doorways suggested by a mere swath of yellow paint—with complete (often naïvely drawn) and vividly painted figures of Danny and his grown-up subjects. Ages 4-7. (Apr.)