Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cousin Irv from Mars by Bruce Eric Kaplan -- OPTIONAL

Kaplan, Bruce Eric Cousin Irv from Mars Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2013. $16.99. PICTURE BOOK.

Teddy is unhappy when he learns his grumpy cousin Irv is visiting from Mars, and it's made even worse when he hears Irv will bunk with him. Still, over the course of the visit Teddy learns that even grumpy Martian cousins have their advantages.

While this book is just quirky enough to perhaps find a limited audience, I myself found it just plain odd. Some of the illustrations are cute, but many look quite amateurish -- a surprise considering the author/illustrator's prestigious background. Also, it was difficult to get a handle on Irv, which took a lot away from understanding their relationship. Just how old is he, anyway? Ten? Eighty? It's impossible to tell, and both guesses seem reasonable given different parts of the text. The prose is also frequently interrupted by asides from the opinionated narrator. Some are astute and funny, but others are preachy and inaccurate, such as, "We all know...accepting things is the only way to be happy." True, if you don't count finding a compromise or working for change -- two other important ways of dealing with difficult situations.

EL -- OPTIONAL. Reviewed by: Caryn.

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