Chris Barton and Tom Lichtenheld have a strong contender in the Cybils Fiction Picture Books category with Shark Vs Train. In the opening pages, two small kids pull opposing toys from the overflowing toy chest, and then the pages explode with the battle between the two champions. The contests move from the obvious (ocean? tracks?) to more competitive fields (roasting marshmallows? bowling?) to truly difficult (piano recitals? game stations -- without thumbs?). The muttered dialogue of the two antagonists brings an extra layer of humor as they move from trash talking to mutual concerns in the later events.
Both boys loved the book; X missed the first few pages but demanded to go back to see what he missed. When I showed it to N, he insisted on checking it out himself. (He has now shared it with his parents and continues with the enthusiasm.) We're waiting for the last book to make our final decisions, but bookies are rushing to cover themselves for this title. A