WALLACE HOSKINS by Cynthia Zarin


The Boy Who Grew Down
Age Range: 4 - 8
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This is the curious story of Wallace Hoskins, who is small for his age and never seen without his large red fireman’s hat. His mother frets that he is too small, and she frets that he won’t take off the hat. Wallace, too, is concerned—he worries that his mother worries. Then one day Wallace starts putting on some inches, which makes everyone happy until it is discovered that only Wallace’s legs are growing and the rest of him remains the same. Mrs. Hoskins dashes off to Nanny Heppleweather, an old soul who had once offered assistance. Her advice is to take the fireman’s hat off, cut the toadstool she will find growing on Wallace’s head into ten pieces, and throw them into the sea. This is more than just a cautionary tale of what happens to those who don’t wash their hair; it’s a pleasing little introduction to absurdism. Some of Zarin’s witticisms may well fly right over the heads of younger listeners—“He felt that his destiny had been taken out of his hands. It was an odd feeling, but he was a child and it was not entirely new to him”—but they are deeply amusing and Matje’s sophisticated cartoons will keep children smiling. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7894-2523-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: DK Publishing
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1999