The friends from Clanton’s Rex Wrecks It!—Rex the dinosaur, Sprinkles the unicorn-rabbit, Wild the furry monster, and Gizmo the robot—welcome someone new into their group. Boo’s a Pac-Man-esque ghost, and a lot of games don’t work if you’re incorporeal. When the group plays “bounce-ball,” the basketball passes right through Boo (the other creatures look a little worried), and Boo can’t play tag, either: “You tagged me?” says Sprinkles. “Oh, sorry. I couldn’t feel it.” When the four run off to play a new game without inviting Boo, he’s sad; a sequence of drawings shows him fading to the point of invisibility. But the new game is hide-and-seek—a game ghosts excel at. Visually, Clanton’s clean backdrops offer minimal distractions, making sure that the story’s tightly focused point won’t be lost on readers. With sensitivity, Clanton telegraphs Boo’s uncertainty and the group’s dismay: getting used to difference requires some patience and good thinking from everyone involved, but when that work is done, there’s plenty of fun to be had. Ages 3–7. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt and Zacker Literary. (Aug.)
PreS-Gr 1—The gang from Rex Wrecks It are back for a new tale about playing together. "Being new can be scary, even when everyone is friendly." And so it is when Boo, looking much like a Pac-Man ghost, arrives at the playground. The other creatures (robot, dinosaur, unicorn bunny, and adorable monster) invite him to play, but finding a game for them all is tricky. Bounce-ball, pick-up twigs, and tag are all a fail, as Boo is intangible. Boo is ready to just disappear (boo-hoo) when a game of hide-and-seek begins, an activity for which Boo was practically made. "This is Boo. He's new, but he fits right in." Clanton's visuals and simple text are the perfect combination for this read-aloud. The first two pages humorously set up the premise with an arrow and text declaring "This is Boo." Ah, but Boo is in fact on the facing page, as the additional text and illustration show. With a tan background and single color foreground, Clanton makes it easy for readers/listeners to focus on the action. Using ink, pencil, watercolor, and digital magic, Clanton's illustrations deftly depict the action and facial expressions of his cartoon characters. Who knew the awkwardness of a failed game could be shown so simply and yet so well? VERDICT Clanton addresses one of life's difficult experiences for all ages in this humorous book. There's a built-in fan base from previous titles, but this is also a great title to entice newcomers to the series.—Catherine Callegari, Reston Regional Library, VA
The new kid in town has more trouble than most fitting in. Boo is new, and while it might seem as though it would be easy for a ghost to fit in among a T. Rex, a robot, a monster, and a unicorn rabbit, it isn't. They are friendly enough and include him in the games they play, but for reasons that aren't explicitly stated, only pictured, he has trouble. The ball bounces through him during a game of "bounce-ball." He has no hands with which to play "pick-up twigs." And his friends can't feel it when he tags them. The four are an empathetic bunch and continue to try to find new games to play each time, but Boo can't help but have a pity party as he wonders if anyone would notice if he just disappeared. But just then he notices they've begun a game that's perfect for him—one that allows him to succeed and even dominate. Hooray for new friends who persevere! Clanton's ink, pencil, watercolor, and digital illustrations employ an off-white background so readers can easily see the white-sheeted ghost. But this background changes to white when Boo is feeling sorry for himself and during the final game, emphasizing his problem, which also turns out to be his strength. Boo and his new pals are all expressive, especially the enthusiastic Rex. A great example for both new kids and those welcoming them—at Halloween or for the rest of the year. (Picture book. 3-7)
Clanton’s simple story broaches common anxieties that come with being new, and he buoys it with a positive message of inclusion. His amiable illustrations, rendered in ink, pencil, watercolors, and “digital magic,” will further allay children’s fears...A welcome, and welcoming, read.
Boo and his new pals are all expressive, especially the enthusiastic Rex. A great example for both new kids and those welcoming them—at Halloween or for the rest of the year.
The ink, pencil, and watercolor illustrations capture Boo’s evolution from shy and tentative to happy and confident, often with just the tilt of an eyebrow or the crumple or curve of a mouth...The text is as brief as can be, augmented with often-humorous dialogue and sound effects, comics-style—making this winsome picture book suitable for preschoolers and emerging readers alike.
—The Horn Book
Clanton’s illustrations deftly depict the action and facial expressions of his cartoon characters. Who knew the awkwardness of a failed game could be shown so simply and yet so well? Clanton addresses one of life’s difficult experiences for all ages in this humorous book. There’s a built-in fan base from previous titles, but this is also a great title to entice newcomers to the series.
—School Library Journal