From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3—Ethelmae, who is forced to work at the bug-infested diner for stealing a single lemon drop, shares vignettes about events at the disgusting eatery. Once, the booths became so greasy, they slid outside of the restaurant into the street. The diners kept right on eating and were never heard from again. The waitresses pinch the customers, and the chocolate milk isn't really chocolate. The narrator leads her friend to a secret room where goodbyes are banned. "Wouldn't you like a lemon drop…. Have one. They're delicious." The story is confusing and further muddled by the sentence structure, e.g., "Inside the Slidy Diner, the noise is always." While the drawings make great use of detail and color, they seem only to add to the murkiness of the narrative. It would be difficult to find an audience for this book.—Beth Cuddy, Seward Elementary School, Auburn, NY
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In as fine a game of Grossout as ever was, a child squires an anxious-looking friend around a diner in which, she claims, the cuisine runs to Pumpkin Asparagus Pie and Greasily Niblets, the floor is so slick that booths sometimes slide out into the street and the proprietor is decidedly witchy: "Sometimes Ethelmae grins at you, and you can see her tooth." Zollars's canted, full-bleed café scenes follow suit, with views of diners chowing down on a pig's head, a trophy-sized cockroach fixed to a platter above the counter and basement restrooms surrounded by a flood crawling with "nefarious wigglepedes." Still, unlike Merrilee Kutner's Zombie Nite Café (2007), as depicted by Ethan Long, or Jane Breskin Zalben's Saturday Night at the Beastro(2004), it's not all bad, for "Inside the Slidy Diner, there are dark, blue secrets. / And silver whispers. / Inside the Slidy Diner there are magic trapdoors. / To birthdays and Saturdays." Best yet, all "goodbyes have been banned!" Here's a diner well worth repeated visits--but steer clear of the "chocolate" milk. (Picture book. 6-9) -- Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2008
The Slidy Diner is one big health code violation: the proprietress wears a fly-covered sweater and "smells like rotten grill grease," the toilet is a cesspool, "someone is usually running with scissors" and the sticky buns are scraped up off the floor. Even the people are ghoulish, with their flattened, oversize heads, blank eyes and doll-like bodies. Snyder, a debut picture book author and PW
reviewer, and Zollars (Not in Room 204
) serve up a wealth of Grand Guignol detail, beginning with the creepy premise: Edie, the narrator, claims she is held captive at the diner for stealing a lemon drop, and she gives a young patron the insider's tour of the joint. Most of the best jokes are visual: the poison label stuck onto a countertop; pet food tins stashed amid the staples; a slice of pie garnished as if with eyeballs. The gross-out crowd will eat this up. Ages 5-8. (Oct.)--Publishers Weekly --Publishers Weekly, October, 2008