It's the worst when Bootsie Barker comes to my house. Bootsie's the one who pulls my hair and tears my books. She hates Charlene, my pet salamander. She says that I'm a turtle and she's a turtle-eating dinosaur. Uh-oh, I think I hear a car pulling up. That's her now! Eeek!
"Ages 3-8. The imaginative young narrator of this book suffers daily martyrdom at the hands of a bombastic little bully, Bootsie Barker. Bootsie comes over every day, and the children "play" while their mothers visit. "It's so nice you girls can be friends," comments Mrs. Barker, as Bootsie drags her "friend" away by the hair. Bootsie's idea of negotiating before play is to scream, "You're a salamander . . . and I'm a SALAMANDER-EATING DINOSAUR!" Playtime itself consists of tormenting her playmate. When the shy young victim learns that Bootsie will be spending the night, she's finally stirred to stand up for herself and scare the daylights out of her oppressor. Other children will find this a profoundly satisfying turn of events. The use of a preschool narrator can be tricky, but Bottner's tone is a model of simplicity and matter-of-factness, sometimes droll but never coy. Rathmann's neon-bright, full-color artwork extends the emotional tenor and the humor of the text. Her varied layouts, dramatic compositions, and, most of all, her expressive drawings of children give the book unusual vitality. Some of these drawings are reminiscent of Sendak's early work in their look of spontaneity and their sensitive linear expression of children's emotions and vulnerability. A natural for story time. ~--Carolyn Phelan"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"``My mother and Bootsie Barker's mother are best friends,'' begins the diminutive narrator of this uproariously illustrated story. Bootsie stops short of actually biting, but she bares her teeth in a gleeful lethal grin as the daily mom-and-daughter visit begins. Wearing her broad-brimmed black hat and wickedly pointy hot-pink boots, Bootsie ignores all injunctions to ``play nicely, girls!'' She pretends to be a hungry dinosaur, tears up her timid host's book about turtles and knocks over an aquarium housing Charlene the salamander. Alas, the girls' parents are blind to Bootsie's malevolence and plan an overnight stay; the narrator, certain that she and Charlene will be ``rushed to the hospital with dinosaur bites,'' confides her fears to her mother, whose calm response plants the germ of an idea. The next day the beleaguered heroine thinks fast and gives Bootsie a witty comeuppance. Bottner ( Let Me Tell You Everything ) smoothly adopts the understandably anxious child's point of view, while Rathmann ( Ruby the Copycat ) contributes formidable, hyper-bright watercolors that echo the story's nightmarish but hilarious exaggeration. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved