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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 08/01/2013 Gr 1–4—Raccoon, paws and nose pressed plaintively to the glass, stares longingly into a pizza parlor. His nemesis, the Pizza Man, chases him off with a broom, and an unseen narrator rhapsodizes, "Ah, pizza… So beautiful, you could hang it on the wall of a museum. So convenient you could eat it in the bathtub." Raccoon reappears looking forlorn, and the narrator suggests a pizza party at Raccoon's house-a secret pizza party because, "When you make something secret, you make it special. Regular handshake: Boring. Secret handshake: Booyah!" Wearing stilts and a trench coat, Raccoon absconds with a stolen pizza only to discover an enormous SECRET PIZZA PARTY happening nearby. Unfortunately, he is unable to play it cool and blows his disguise as he rolls around in a pizza-induced frenzy. He flees from the broom-wielding mob (led by the Pizza Man), but his armload of pizza and giant grin prove that he has no regrets. Because the narrator converses directly with Raccoon, listeners are aligned with him and identify with the roguish creature. The skillful gouache-and-ink compositions are full of sly details and visual humor. It's hard not to giggle at scenes like the lanky pizza man with angry eyebrows and a handlebar mustache rolling out dough while glaring at a "Wanted" poster featuring the raccoon. With a casually diverse cast of characters, Secret Pizza Party is a sure hit for primary-grade kids, who will appreciate the subtle humor and absurdity.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, White Bear Lake, MN - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 09/01/2013 Raccoon, who loves pizza but finds himself bashed with brooms every time he pinches a piece, decides to throw himself a secret pizza party. He devises a clever heist and successfully navigates the chase home, only to discover his celebration is missing people to share his pizza. Luckily, he notices a crowd next door wearing masks just like Raccoon’s and eating lots of pizza! The creators of Dragons Love Tacos (2012) offer another zany salute to a popular food. Salmieri’s gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil artwork features vivid colors, often set off against dark backgrounds signaling Raccoon’s nocturnal habits. Although the plot meanders a bit, children aren’t likely to mind given all the clever gadgets and outrageous scenarios depicted (in one scene Raccoon lounges atop a serving table, devouring multiple slices of pizza while the human guests stare speechless). This will be popular with pizza aficionados; pair with William Steig’s Pete’s a Pizza (1998) or Charlotte Voake’s Pizza Kittens (2002). - Copyright 2013 Booklist.