Monday, May 19, 2014


Written by Adam Rubin

Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri

(Dial Books for Young Readers, 2013)

Haven’t blogged in a while so why not kick things off again with a Pizza Party? I mean, really, who doesn’t love a pizza party? How many of us have been suckered into a day of moving sofas and tables with the promise of pizza as the reward? We could buy our own, making the phone call from our own very stationary sofa and having it delivered to our door, but that “free” pizza is quite the enticement.

It seems there is a certain raccoon that is as obsessed with that cheesy pie as I am. But, of course, pizza is not for raccoons. No. These critters are supposed to subsist on food remnants from trashed cobs of corn, discarded fruitcake and maybe, on a good night, a pizza crust punctured by human teeth marks. Such is the life of a wild thing.

Still, this little raccoon wishes for more. He stares longingly through the windows of pizzerias until he is unceremoniously shooed away by a guy with a broom. (Yeah, that’s happened to mean on occasion, too.)

The cheeky narrator gives the tormented raccoon an idea: Throw your own SECRET pizza party. Think about it—no battles with brooms and, gosh golly, things are always more fun when they are a secret. What a great idea!

But there are a few kinks to work out. Delivery guy must not discover where raccoon lives. Raccoon must be in disguise when walking in the pizzeria. And, being as raccoons don’t have wallets—or money, for that matter—there needs to be a quick getaway with the goods. (Is this theft, you may wonder as a conscientious reader wishing to instill proper values on a young audience? P-lease. Raccoon is a wild animal. This is part of all that survival of the fittest stuff. It is a slight tweak to those not-so-exciting food chain diagrams from science class. Get over it. Or read Goodnight Moon for the umpteenth time.)

Raccoon overcomes every obstacle. Pizza! At last! Still, it does not seem right. Raccoon’s pizza party is a solitary experience. The masked has one more pizza-driven adventure left. After all, whether you are hauling duct-taped recliner chairs or dodging dusty brooms, pizza tastes even better when you put in the extra effort.

This is the type of amusing picture book that can be enjoyed over and over again at bedtime. I have gone through this book many times and Raccoon becomes more endearing with each reading/viewing. As a creative team, Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri seem to be the perfect pairing (like (veggie) pepperoni and gobs of mozzarella). This is the follow-up to Dragons Love Tacos, their ode to another ideal snack food. (Yes, I still have to blog that one, but according to my cravings, pizza trumps tacos.)

I can’t wait to see what they cook up next!

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