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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Meaniehead, written and illustrated by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Simon & Schuster, 2014. $21.99 ages 4 and up

"Meaniehead!" Eve screamed.

"It's mine!" Henry screamed
back at her.

There's nothing sillier
than fighting about what
belongs to whom, but no
kids and even fewer adults
know that."

If you don't have a sibling you may not understand the nonsense that results when a fight breaks out over possession of something totally meaningless. Today, it's an action figure. Tomorrow, it is sure to be something else! Both Henry and Eve must have it! As anger escalates, so does retaliation. Both grapple earnestly with the toy in question causing it to fly out of their hands, and do irreparable damage to a favorite table lamp. No one will accept a share of blame for the accident. Uncontrolled rage ensues!

Henry gets a jackhammer; Eve gets a bulldozer.The resulting chaos is the stuff that kids want to read about other kids who behave badly. You just know it will not go well! It doesn't take long until the fight moves beyond bedroom walls to their home, their neighborhood, a toy store, even the San Diego Zoo and the Grand Canyon. Oh, and Earth is not exempt. Destruction is the name of the game, and all as a result of a tiff gone terribly wrong.

There is no real emotion in the telling which just makes it all funnier. The cartoon characterisation of the siblings and everyone else in their path of destruction is perfectly timed and drawn to grab the full attention of all who share this book.  The author manages to contain the constant action within black frames, which gives the feeling that all is not lost.
If you have read Mr. Kaplan's Monsters Eat Whiny Children (2010), you have already met these siblings. You will not likely be too surprised to see how they are developing. Lest you think that all is well when they appear to agree to a bit of a truce at the end, the endpapers will provide a sense that not much has changed!

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