As Lemony Snicket gets further from the series that brought him notoriety, he finds himself exploring terra icognita, or unknown territory. He finds new ways to craft stories, experimenting with what children's books are capable of. 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy is a fascinating if challenging example of these efforts. The book follows two children as they investigate the mysteries of a peculiar business. They obsessively list what they have learned from their research, casing the joint like bank robbers.
1. We are very curious about the Swinster Pharmacy. We travelled all the way from the next town to find out what it sells.
George has a problem. He wants to be good. He knows how good dogs are supposed to act. They are not supposed to devour entire cakes that have been left on the table. They should probably leave any cats alone...dirt, too. George knows what he should do. He just doesn't do it. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton, brings his eternal struggle to life.
"Everyone was perfectly fine with the way things were. Everyone but Mr. Tiger."
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild takes on proper behavior and tears it to shreds. At the beginning of Peter Brown's picture book, four-legged animals walk stiffly upright, wear suits, dresses, top hats, and bonnets. Elephants, bears, and deer all have perfect posture. Every house on the block looks exactly the same, and our striped protagonist is sick of it.
Niño is one remarkable little boy. He may look like an ordinary child playing with his toys. When he picks up his red mask though, Niño Wrestles the World.
She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain takes the popular folk song to new heights of silliness. A serenading cactus begins our tune, inviting us to sing along. The "She" in question is a pint-sized cowgirl whose legend grows with the song.
We start normally enough, but when we find out that the six white horses she'll be driving are named "Misty, Moonbeam, Milkshake, Stardust, Silvermane, and Snowflake," we find ourselves riding off the beaten path into hilariously imaginative scenarios involving jelly-juggling and rooftop-dancing.
Like a lost puppy, the moon follows a family home one night. Soon an entire town is affected by the celestial visitor. They all have just received their first Moonday.
At first, it is very exciting. When the moon shrinks enough to fit in the backyard, our protagonist hops onto it and explores. But things grow peculiar. Morning never arrives and everyone is feeling extra sleepy. Soon the backyard is flooded with a high tide and howling dogs!