cover image Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians!

Great, Now We’ve Got Barbarians!

Jason Carter Eaton, illus. by Mark Fearing. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-6827-3

“If you don’t clean up after yourself, we’re going to get pests!” a boy’s mother complains after surveying the detritus that her son leaves in his wake. “What’s the worst that could happen?” he asks. “We get a couple of ants? A few flies? A little bitty mouse?” Then barbarians show up, drawn by the squalor of half-empty juice boxes, stray cookies, and open bags of cheese curls. True to their conquering DNA, they quickly take over, “snoring, snarling, belching, badgering, grumbling, growling, loitering, looting, and lazing savages of all shapes and sizes.” The story has the narrative momentum and comic beats of a cartoon short, and although Eaton’s (How to Track a Truck) text tends toward the literal, Fearing (Superhero Instruction Manual) has a broad visual repertoire when it comes to goofy, hirsute men in animal pelts and horned hats. It’s the truth served up with a good laugh, and it gives parents a new calamity to invoke the next time they’re confronted with a messy room. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Tanya McKinnon, McKinnon McIntyre. Illustrator’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. (Feb.) [/em]