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Publishers Weekly Review
"Never trust a human." Those are the last words of cane toad Limpy's Uncle Preston, "the ones he'd said just before he was flattened by a funeral procession," in Australian writer Gleitzman's (Two Weeks with the Queen) hilarious dark comedy. In fact Limpy has watched countless relatives get run over by highway traffic and, out of deference, rolls up their dried bodies, takes them home and stockpiles them ("Well, don't just leave him lying around in your room," says Limpy's Mum on one such occasion. "That room's a pigsty. I'm tired of tidying up dead relatives in there"). Not content to accept his parents' explanations for his family's advanced mortality rate (all the really nutritious flies hang out near the highway), Limpy is convinced that humans hate cane toads, and he sets off on a farflung journey to find a human being and determine the cause of their enmity. Despite his dearly departed uncle's admonition, Limpy discovers that humans might not all be so bad, as he falls in with a female athlete who, he believes, will help him apply to become an Olympic Games mascot. While the book was originally published for the Sydney Olympics in 2000, and some of the humor has to do with native Aussie animals' hurt feelings at being rejected as mascots, most of the comedy should travel well. Saucy fun from start to finish. Ages 8-12. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-6-Author Morris Gleitzman's smooth Aussie-accented voice deftly narrates this story (Random, 2004) about a young cane toad's daring quest to change humankind's hatred for his species. After watching one of his favorite uncles deliberately flattened beneath the wheels of a car, Limpy (so-named for a bum leg which was "a bit squashed" after his own unlucky run-in with a car) sets off to find a way to reverse the human view of cane toads. The gross-out humor and short chapters make this an ideal choice for boys and reluctant readers. Kids might need a little help with some of the Australian dialect (e.g. "petrol station"), but they will delight in the tale and cheer on this unlikely hero.-Jennifer Iserman, Dakota County Library, Burnhaven Branch, Burnsville, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 3-6. In this amusing Australian import, readers get an amphibian's perspective on road kill. Limpy, a young cane toad, is horrified at how many of his family members have tragically died, flat as a pancake, on the road. He cannot understand why humans seem to go out of their way to run over toads. Desperate to save the rest of his family from the wheels of passing cars, Limpy decides he must do something to close the rift in human-toad relations, and he embarks on a risky campaign to show humans how nice cane toads can be. This funny tale of one toad's bold quest to reach out to another species will give readers plenty of laughs. --Ed Sullivan Copyright 2004 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Satire involving the mascots of the Sydney Olympic Games perhaps won't travel well, but this animal fantasy about a persevering cane toad still scores some points. Limpy--his nickname the result of an unfortunate encounter on the highway--wants to know why human beings seem to hate his kind. Gleitzman is wicked in this send-up of the animal-quest genre, which has at its heart some tough questions about prejudice. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
Ugliness may be only skin deep, but that turns out to be deep enough in this droll odyssey from Down Under. Puzzled as to why humans seem willing to go out of their way to turn any of his species that they catch into roadkill, Limpy, a cane toad, leaves off his morbid hobby of collecting flattened relatives to discover why--and put a stop to it. After several harebrained schemes, including a campaign to have cane toads declared Official Olympic Mascots, come to naught in hilariously chaotic fashion, he organizes a Nonhuman Games for crocodiles, fleas, kangaroos, and other failed mascot contenders--only to be declared too hideously warty to participate. In the end, Limpy does nothing for his species' image, but returns to his roadside swamp a hero nonetheless, having learned a quick method of escaping oncoming motorists from a human pole vaulter. Along with a plot filled with hair's-breadth escapes and silly turns, this toad's-eye view of human society provides both solid entertainment and a barbed commentary on the importance of looks. Worth a squiz. (Aussie glossary) (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.