Reviews for Fall Mixed Up

Booklist Reviews 2011 November #1
This title, featuring a young boy and his canine companion, offers a witty, wacky take on familiar autumnal activities and elements. Beginning with a somewhat tongue-twisting line, "Every Septober, / Every Octember, / Fall fills my senses with / scenes to remember," the text and art include mixed-up scenarios of leaves flying upward, geese hibernating, squirrels flying south. In this upside-down world, "Touchdowns are hit. / Home runs are kicked." Halloween gets a more humorous than scary treatment in shadowy scenes in which winged mummies "go bats" and "vampires ride brooms" and kids get trick-or-treats of stuffing and drumsticks. There's plenty to seek and find in the colorful, soft-textured illustrations, which use playful perspectives in more zany, backward scenes, such as "bonfires that cool off our fronts and our rears," and invite revisiting. Bouncy rhymes keep things peppy, and kids will enjoy being in on the jokes and identifying all that's topsy-turvy in this fun romp. A humorous option for seasonal storytimes. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Spring
Rhyming, uneven verse enumerates some of the characteristics and pleasures of fall, except that things are a bit topsy-turvy: "Bears gather nuts / Geese hibernate. / Squirrels fly south in / big figure eights." Illustrations rendered in warm colors capture the silliness of the brief text. Kids will have fun following the final instructions to "Go back and find all the / things that aren't right."

Kirkus Reviews 2011 July #2

This rollicking fall frolic is sure to arouse a chorus of hearty negatives in every audience as children race to point out the mistakes in both the text and the illustrations.

Raczka has taken all the quintessential elements of fall and turned them topsy-turvy. From the staple treats of candy corn and caramel apples to the antics of the animals, nothing is sacred (or correct), including the holidays of Halloween and Thanksgiving: "Neighbors give stuffing and / drumsticks for treats. / Families give thanks / for a bounty of sweets." But silly as the rhyming verses are, they need Cameron's zany illustrations to truly make them come alive. After all, some of the mix-ups defy even the most active of imaginations: "Bears gather nuts. / Geese hibernate. / Squirrels fly south in / big figure eights." Digital paintings with photo-collage elements draw readers' eyes through the scenes, in which bears bend trees down to the ground with their heavy weight and squirrels with balloons tied around their waists soar through the sky. But the laughs don't stop there—Cameron includes at least one wrong thing on each spread that is unrelated to the text. Observant readers just may spot them all.

A true celebration of fall certain to be a winner with teachers and children alike; here's hoping that the rest of the seasons will follow. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 July #3

With giddy abandon, Cameron's (A Day with No Crayons) bustling, mixed-media artwork has fun with this story's gleefully wacky premise. Moving from windswept, daytime panoramas to shadowy evenings, the pictures leave no doubt that much is awry this autumn: a boy bites into an orange apple as kids in a hot-air balloon attempt to capture leaves that rise rather than fall from trees. Raczka's (Guyku) merry, rat-a-tat verse reveals that animals' behavior is also askew: "Bears gather nuts./ Geese hibernate./ Squirrels fly south in/ big figure eights." Readers will eagerly scour illustrations to decipher the text's ramifications. On a spread in which "Hats cover hands./ Gloves cover ears./ Bonfires cool off our/ fronts and our rears," the children's reversed glove and hat placement is obvious; less so is the ice covering the marshmallows that they (and a snowman) roast over a fire. Even observant kids may not pick up on all of the art's switcheroos on the first read, and will gladly follow Raczka's parting directive to "Go back and find all the/ things that aren't right." Ages 4-9. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 November

PreS-Gr 2--Text and illustrations depict mixed-up imagery of autumn, as in "Apples turn orange./Pumpkins turn red./Leaves float up/into blue skies overhead." Soft-focus illustrations with occasional sharp collage elements show the zany world described by each verse. The last line of the book invites readers to go back and find "all the things that aren't right," but most of the errors have already been pointed out by the text. The mix-ups are silly and not particularly witty, and the book does nothing to evoke the feeling of the season or to shed light on any of its symbols. This is a gimmick book that will not bear repeated readings. With so many fall books available, it can easily be skipped.--Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

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