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Benny's Brigade Hardcover – August 7, 2012


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 48 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's McMullens (August 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1936365618
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936365616
  • Product Dimensions: 12.2 x 9.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #938,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2-While walking to school, Theo and Elsie find a wiggling nutshell. The sisters carefully pry it open and discover Benny, a pocket-size, talkative walrus. After he sings about wishing to return to the sea, a group of children builds him a boat. Theo and Elsie place Benny and a brigade of three slugs in it and put it into a creek, hoping the creek will transport Benny and company to the sea. Remembering that slugs' skin can be harmed by salt water, the travelers make their home on a small island inhabited by an assortment of creatures. Bradford's unusual plot may have some appeal to children with broad imaginations. There is plenty of dialogue among the characters in the at-times dry text. The story presents positive images of children concerned for an animal away from its natural habitat as well as children who take charge of returning it to its original environment. Working cooperatively to construct a milk-carton boat for Benny provides a nice example of problem solving. Hanawalt's large, single- and double-page artwork, done in muted colors, is filled with a variety of plant and animal life. An assortment of creatures hides among the plants and roams freely in the outdoor terrain. Changing illustration angles offers differing perspectives of the outdoor environment. When removed from the book and fully opened, the book jacket transforms into a poster depicting the story's creatures enjoying their lives on the island. Images from the artwork are replicated on the end papers; each one is labeled. Benny's Bridage is an odd fantasy that ties-in with lessons on compassion, animals, and environments.-Lynn Vanca, freelance librarian, Akron, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

Selected by 100 Scope Notes as a "Wildest Children's Book of 2012"

"Tiny walruses in nutshells, talking slugs — what’s not to like? If your kids like to giggle at really weird stories, Benny’s Brigade will be right up their alley."
—Johnathan H. Liu, Wired.com's GeekDad

"Exuberant...imaginative."—USA Today's Pop Candy blog

"No surprise here, [McSweeney's McMullens] books so far have been every bit as unusual — and beautifully produced — as those on McSweeney’s adult list. Take, for example, Benny’s Brigade, an oversized picture book about two little girls and a veritable menagerie of everyday insects, garden critters and rural animals that morph into a fantastical collection of colourful creatures apparently brought to life by a child’s powers of observation."
The Montreal Gazette

"Benny's Brigade charmed the pants off of me."—Pink Me

"The latest release from McSweeney's McMullens series is yet another gorgeously designed children's book, with captivating artwork, a surreal plot, and a dust jacket that unfolds into a poster, revealing gold foil embossed slugs on the cover... I certainly enjoyed discussing the possible sub-plots in this weird, yet charming book."—Media Darlings

"While walking to school, Theo and Elsie find a wiggling nutshell. The sisters carefully pry it open and discover Benny, a pocket-size, talkative walrus. After he sings about wishing to return to the sea, a group of children builds him a boat. Theo and Elsie place Benny and a brigade of three slugs in it and put it into a creek, hoping the creek will transport Benny and company to the sea. Remembering that slugs’ skin can be harmed by salt water, the travelers make their home on a small island inhabited by an assortment of creatures. Bradford’s unusual plot may have some appeal to children with broad imaginations. There is plenty of dialogue among the characters in the at-times dry text. The story presents positive images of children concerned for an animal away from its natural habitat as well as children who take charge of returning it to its original environment. Working cooperatively to construct a milk-carton boat for Benny provides a nice example of problem solving. Hanawalt’s large, single- and double-page artwork, done in muted colors, is filled with a variety of plant and animal life. An assortment of creatures hides among the plants and roams freely in the outdoor terrain. Changing illustration angles offers differing perspectives of the outdoor environment. When removed from the book and fully opened, the book jacket transforms into a poster depicting the story’s creatures enjoying their lives on the island. Images from the artwork are replicated on the end papers; each one is labeled. Benny’s Bridage is an odd fantasy that ties-in with lessons on compassion, animals, and environments."–Lynn Vanca, freelance librarian, Akron, OH, School Library Journal

"This eccentric, beautifully illustrated story could have been created by a child—quite a compliment."—ForeWord Reviews

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Karen H. C. Lawrence on October 3, 2012
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A charming book. Gentle, imaginative, and beautifully illustrated. I enjoyed reading it myself, but better to share with a child. I bought three... Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eliza on October 18, 2012
This book is such a random, wonderful find! The artwork is spectacular and the story is completely unique--silly but interesting at the same time. Granted the ending is quite abrupt, the sweet story and detailed pictures make it a really wonderful book for kids + adults alike. Plus, the jacket folds out into a lovely double sided poster that proudly decorates my daughter's play house.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. Bonazzi on March 11, 2013
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I absolutely love this book. The drawings are beautiful and it tells a really weird but great story. My daughter took to it immediately and now it's one of her favourites. I think it's the kind of children's book that fosters their originality and the quirks that make children so special... very far from so many packaged tales of girls as princesses.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By KR on October 21, 2012
My two year old will sit through this whole book, completely captivated and I enjoy reading it each time. The story and pictures are equally imaginative. There are beautiful and funny animals all over the background to discover. The compositions fluctuate nicely as the scale shifts from the girls' world to that of the tiny walrus. I will buy this for all gift-giving occassions in the coming year.
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