Berkeley Breathed ("Bloom County") continues his successful second life as a first-rate children's storyteller. In the spirit of A Wish for Wings That Work and Red Ranger Came Calling, Edwurd Fudwupper Fibbed Big celebrates Breathed's ample cartooning skill while incorporating a more weighty, atmospheric style to tell a simple story that makes intelligent use of both. Energetic, silly, "Bloom County"-esque caricatures provide contrast to some truly impressive set pieces, fat with color and playfully composed. And that's just the illustrations.
Edwurd's hilarious story is told by his overlooked little sister Fannie: "From a long line of liars, there's none higher upper... / Than my fibbing big brother, / The Edward Fudwupper." This accomplished yarn-spinner just can't seem to stop himself, "like the time he fibbed big / And told Ben and Dinky / That I had been borne by / A poodle named Stinky." But after an accident in the den with Mom's porcelain pig, Edwurd goes too far and implicates a couple of "passionate porkers" from Pluto. Soon the military arrives in full force, "with planes and with tanks and with loud whirligigs!" (Not to mention a very serious-looking helicopter with a banner encouraging the frightened populace below to "STAY CALM.") But this proves to be the least of Edwurd's worries, and in the end it's up to brave Fannie to save the day with a fib of her very own. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes
From Publishers Weekly
"From a long line of liars, there's none higher upper.../ Than my fibbing big brother,/ The Edwurd Fudwupper," laments Fannie, a timid girl with freckles and corkscrews of orange hair. She only wants some attention from Edwurd, a mutated Dennis the Menace with a red-striped shirt, monstrously large head and creepy grin. But Edwurd is too busy fabricating stories to be her friend. In a sequence too convoluted to recount fully, Edward breaks a ceramic pig, lies about the deed and draws hostile attention from a three-eyed alien whose purple potbelly could easily contain the entire Earth ("Oh, it was dreadful! A real world stopper!/ All from an Edwurd Fudwupper fat whopper!"). When Fannie tells a "fat fib" of her own and saves the planet, she finally earns Edwurd's affection. Breathed (A Wish for Wings That Work) alternates ink-and-watercolor caricatures with ultra-high-contrast images, but their caustic whites and poison greens exude an almost radioactive glow. The author may approach the meters of Dr. Seuss ("Who is this gnat? Point out where he's at!/ Show him to me and I'll swat him down flat!" says the alien), but the tone, like the art, is mean-spirited and unfunny. All ages. (Sept.)
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