When Stubby the squid gets a pen pal, he pretends to be something he’s not, and that turns out to be a big mistake!
“Stubby was a scaredy squid.” He’s beyond meek. But when Razor Clam becomes his pen pal, Stubby puffs himself up in his letters. After all, simply changing a few letters, he realizes, changes his character. Instead of “fearful,” he can be “fearless.” Instead of “gutless,” “gutsy.” How will Razor Clam ever know? So, Stubby relates his “rough and tough” adventures with jellyfish, an orca, sea lions, and a bull shark. But then Razor Clam decides to visit, and Stubby feels he’ll be exposed. But just as he confesses, “I’m sorry, but I’m…not really that brave. Umm…I guess I just like to write about being brave,” he gets a chance to be perfectly heroic when an otter sneaks up to grab Razor, and Stubby vanquishes the furry foe—in a fashion, readers will note, that mirrors his fraudulent adventures. It turns out that Razor is not so brave either, and they both agree that it’s better to write about being brave than having to be brave. Conahan’s colorful illustrations feature goggle-eyed protagonists who come to accept who they are. Though small and meek, they are drawn large against a busy ocean seascape.
Pure fun and a good read-aloud choice. (Picture book. 4-8)