Gibson’s second outing (Around the World on Eighty Legs, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2011) is an onomatopoetic praise song to rain and mud.
With a gentle spring rain falling outside, a little girl and her dog (and the mouse in their house) head out for an afternoon of messy wet fun, joining a couple of neighbors who are already frolicking. Togged out in rain jackets and boots and carrying umbrellas, the trio soon discards all to fully enjoy the experience. Jumping in puddles quickly turns to squishing mud between bare toes and, finally, to a watery mudslide involving their entire bodies. No doubt readers will relate to the fun depicted in the pictures, but it is Gibson’s language play that makes this such a grand read-aloud: “Splish / sploosh, / squash / squoosh, // oochy sploochy woochy woosh!” Björkman uses a spring palette in watercolors that are filled with splashes, splooshes and lots of splatters and smiles. But his characters look older than they should be for this type of rainy day fun…especially considering the wet and tremendously muddy trail the girl leaves from the front door to the bathtub. Still, the antics of the two dogs and the adorable mouse that mimics the children’s cavorting are sure to keep kids’ attention.
Good sloshy fun. (Picture book. 3-6)