Cowboy & Octopus - Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith 


Viking

"Cowboy & Octopus" is a cool title. The only thing that could make it cooler is replacing that ampersand with a "vs." But you know what? This kids' book itself is cool, too.

Anyone familiar with the duo's "The Stinky Cheese Man" (or Smith's solo "The Happy Hocky Family") knows what to expect: short, silly, non-sequitur stories, with wit that dazzles the brain as much as its art dazzles the eye.

There's not much more to it beyond the scenarios: Cowboy and Octopus eat pork 'n' beans, Cowboy and Octopus teeter-totter, Cowboy and Octopus dress up for Halloween. But each bit has a punch line "? eliciting everything from a groan to a smile to an outright belly laugh "? and the cut-out, collage-style illustrations makes every page a frame-worthy work of pop art.

"?Rod Lott

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