A tiny tot likes puddles, but with so many things beneath the surface it might not be wise to splash in them.
A white child (friends of other races join in group shots and background vignettes) with a mop of shaggy brown hair and red rubber boots is about to step into a puddle. On every page, readers can see what lies underneath. Sometimes it is fanciful: pirates or bearded merpeople playing water polo. But other times it just may be a crocodile waiting to snap (the crocs have dinner napkins comically tied around their necks, but their wide, toothy grins are still a bit menacing). One time the child even falls into a deep puddle (here the book requires that readers turn it 90 degrees to appreciate the puddle’s depth): “You’ll sink and sink / and go straight down— / straight down through / the planet … / tumbling past the / sandstone, / the fossils, / and the / granite.” The most dreaded puddle of all is the one that contains “the BIG BAD rubber ducky.” Avoid that one at all costs. Debut author Faulks falters on the rhythm and scansion at times and relies on the occasional sluggish word choice or two, but he doesn’t lack in imagination. Contrary to the title, however, none of the puddles—or even any of the puddle-stomping boots—are muddy at all. Every preschooler in storytime will point that out.
This may make children think twice about splashing, but hopefully it won’t make them run screaming from the sidewalk every time it rains. (Picture book. 3-6)