Booklist Reviews

A New York City taxi driver is bemoaning his bad day when a funny little mustachioed man in a sea-green bodysuit (adorned with a cotton candy–pink curlicue crest) hops in and instructs the driver to take him to "the other side of town." A little pink remote control opens a secret tunnel that reveals a Seussian maze of roadways leading to an alternate, green-and-pink universe where traffic slows at mush hour and the Spankees play baseball. The cabbie delivers his passenger and, with the help of the remote, eventually makes it home again, only to find his family bedecked in the finery of the other side of town (his wife dons an "I heart TOSOT" apron). Agee's trademark large, simple pencil sketches evoke both the familiar NYC business and the unfamiliar silliness of the titular destination. Even the cover plays a role in the backwards bedlam, with a wordless front and the title on the back. The large trim size, silly subject matter, and expressive drawings make this a clear, albeit quirky, read-aloud choice. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews

A New York City cab driver grudgingly picks up a stranger who asks to be driven not to Bleecker Street downtown but to [cf2]Schmeeker[cf1] Street, on "the other side of town." On Schmeeker Street, everything is round and pink and green; pigs and flamingos roam free, and the landscape looks like dessert. Wordplay makes the offbeat pastel package a strong read-aloud.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

The front and back cover set the stage for this strange trip. Traditional full-bleed cover art with title and author lives on the back, while the front's stark white background contains only a round mustachioed character in an odd pink-and-green getup. The first-person narrator, a New York City cab driver, grudgingly picks up this stranger, who asks to be driven not to Bleecker Street downtown but to Schmeeker Street, on "the other side of town." Thus begins a series of humorous miscommunication between driver and passenger. The passenger wants to take the Finkon Tunnel, not the Lincoln Tunnel, and he believes the Spankees, not the Yankees, are the best team. The art, full of detail and movement, makes the juxtaposition of real NYC institutions and their

Publishers Weekly Reviews

After picking up a rotund mustachioed man in a head-to-toe green jumpsuit and pink briefcase, a seen-it-all New York City cabbie takes his fare to "the other side of town." There, amid the hustle and bustle of Schmeeker Street, folks root for the Spankees and commute via the swoopy, bubblegum-hued Snooklyn Bridge. The blue-uniformed driver and his yellow taxi look out of place in the landscape of cone-shaped homes, where everything is either flamingo pink or mint green. In a Twilight Zone finale, the relieved driver arrives home, only to be served a meal of "tweet loaf, with bravy. It's very popular on the other side of town!" Agee's appetite for wordplay and the surreal, in full force throughout books like Mister Putney's Quacking Dog and My Rhinoceros, tilts to the bland side in this outing. Nonsense and word similarities ("nog lights" vs. "fog lights," "mush hour" vs. "rush hour") trump complex double meanings, even if the Spankees and "Finkon Tunnel, after Gabe Finkon" have suggestive monikers. Despite its eccentricities, this parallel universe doesn't demand return visits. Ages 4–8. Agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (Nov.)

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School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 2—Another laugh-out-loud picture book from Agee. A New York City taxi driver is having a bad day when a small, rotund man in a lime green bodysuit adorned with a pink antenna shows up asking to be taken to "'Schmeeker Street, on the other side of town." The strange man then pulls out a remote control that activates a hidden tunnel. Soon, muted beige coloring gives way to a brightly colored pink and green world, where the "Smets" and "Spankees" are popular baseball teams, "spotholes" are a roadside annoyance, and the cause of traffic is usually "mush" hour. A sense of movement permeates the spreads, from a twisting, Escher-esque maze of ramps to the dizzyingly arching "Snooklyn Bridge" that leads the driver back home where an enjoyable twist is waiting. There's plenty to capture children's attention during read-alouds: the exaggerated postures and expressions of Agee's trademark cartoonlike characters; soft-hued, dynamic illustrations that fill the pages; and a fast-moving, dialogue-heavy narrative. The unique design (the book is flipped so that the title appears on the back cover) adds to the quirky fun. The wordplay will elicit giggles (and smiles of recognition from those familiar with Manhattan). Just as Agee's Terrific! (Hyperion, 2005) was an age-appropriate primer on the concept of sarcasm, The Other Side of Town provides a humorous way for children to learn about rhyming.—Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

[Page 84]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.