Worries over a doctor visit just may trump worries over going to school for one bigheaded, big-eyed, spiky-haired tyke.
Murphy’s worries start before the story does—on the endpapers, continuing through the copyright page—and include being in public in only his underwear, scary eyes waiting on a dark bus, and not knowing the answer to a math problem. So it’s no surprise to readers when Murphy tells his dad’s pajama-clad legs (“Peanuts”-like, the illustrations never show the adult’s upper half), “Hmmm…maybe I should stay home from school today.” His complaints include ants in his pants and butterflies in his tummy. But he downgrades his symptoms to heebie-jeebies or maybe goose bumps at the suggestion he might need a shot. Or perhaps it’s a computer virus? The cure for that is so heinous that, dejected, he goes to get ready for school. Dad then shares with him the day of the week: Saturday. Unfortunately, one of Murphy’s original worries still comes true, to readers’ great delight. Bright colors, good use of thought bubbles, and the use of close-ups for effect combine to draw and keep readers’ attention. Murphy himself is rather Mii-like, his head, hands, and feet basic shapes that are not connected to his tiny torso, adding to the humor.
Readers’ empathy for Murphy will be very strong even before the final page turn. (Picture book. 3-6)