From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3–What happens to two woolly mammoths when summer makes an unwelcome appearance during the Ice Age? That's the premise of Layton's extremely silly picture book. Oscar and Arabella, blissfully ice skating (minus the skates) in the freezing cold, sneeze when the weather is warm enough for flowers, frantically scratch at the invading insects, and sweat in the heat of the sun. After they make several amusing attempts to cool themselves off, Oscar holds up a scissors in his trunk and promptly invents the haircut. The grass is littered with mammoth hair as Arabella examines her new look in Oscar's mirror. The trend spreads like ragweed through the animal world; even the human lurking nearby throughout the story discards his animal skin. (And children are likely to be amused by his naked behind.) The illustrations are rough-hewn and absurd; this combination is unfailingly appealing. Layton uses a variety of media to produce bright, primitive landscapes populated with lively, cartoon creatures. An epilogue entitled "Ice Age Facts" presents some simplified information, including this tidbit: "There probably weren't any combs, mirrors, or scissors in the Ice Age. I made that up. Animals would have had to cut their woolly coats with blunt stone axes. (Just kidding)." This paragraph will elicit chortles from some children and confusion from others. It exemplifies the dry humor that infuses Hot Hot Hot
.–Susan Weitz, Spencer-Van Etten Schools, Spencer, NY
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Oscar and Arabella are endearing woolly mammoths who yearn for adventures as long as they aren't scary. Stone Age life can be perilous but there's fun too, and ultimately they have one another. Glasgow-based Neal Layton uses mixed media, including collage and felt-tip to create his anarchic books. Glasgow Herald This is a most original and inventive book, as well as being a good introduction to woolly mammoths and the concept of extinction. The illustrations are lively and simple and Oscar and Arabella are depicted in a cartoon style, while background detail, such as the graffiti in the cave where they are doing their prehistoric painting, adds some fun. The fonts used for the descriptive words are bold and provde a visual equivalent to inomatopoeia. 'Dark' is big and black and blocky, 'fall over' is italicised and wobbly and 'fast' has speed lines in front of it. Altogether, this is an enjoyable story in simple language, and it should provide an enticing introduction to prehistory. Early Years Educator A lively and amusing tale...with fun comic illustrations. family interest magazine Great splashy cartoony pictures of the mammoths and their chums accompany this original non-slushy tale. Fun for the four and fives. Newbury weekly news
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