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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tony Baloney, written by Pam Munoz Ryan and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. Scholastic, 2011. $19.99 ages 4 and up

"Sometimes when Tony Baloney
is tired of Big Sister Baloney, and
exasperated by the Bothersome
Babies Baloney, Dandelion behaves

Poor Tony Baloney...he's a macaroni penguin caught in the middle of  a family that sports three sisters for this lone male child. Big Sister is the 'boss' in the family and Tony seems to be at her beck and call when it comes to playtime. He complains that he is always the kitty. The Bothersome Babies Baloney are soother-sucking, diapered twins who manage to mess with most of what Tony holds dear. For hours it seems, Tony does what is asked of him. Finally Dandelion, his best stuffed friend, becomes tired of it all and turns to misbehaving.

It's time for Tony, with Dandelion in tow, to make a safe and stealthy getaway. That done, they commiserate with each other until Momma and Poppa stop for a chat. It seems Tony needs to find the right words to apologize to his sisters:

"I need to think about our behavior and using our words and saying we're sorry.
Oh, and we have to mean it, too."

Dandelion is 'not yet feeling nicely in my heart'. Thus, the talk and deliberation continue. It takes a while. When the smell of fish tacos wafts into the 'hideawaysis' (thank you, Katherine Hannigan), both seem more prepared to get on with the task at hand. Apology accepted and the Bothersome Baloney Babies proving adept at meowing, Tony need not worry about being the kitty...ever again! Big Sister Baloney has an even better idea!

What fun Pam Munoz Ryan must have had in finding the perfect 'voice' for a young disgruntled middle child, with some mischief on his mind! Then, to have Edwin Fotheringham bring her characters so brilliantly (in color and otherwise) to life is surely the icing on the cake. His use of bold primary colors and so many telling details adds wondrous fun. The always present trails of Parmesan cheese, the constant motion, the expressive faces and the surprise ending make this a book that will requested repeatedly. I know I will be reading it time and time again!

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