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SLOW MOE by Deborah Kerbel


by Deborah Kerbel ; illustrated by Marianne Ferrer

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-4598-2352-5
Publisher: Orca

A sweet harangue against the failings of little siblings everywhere.

They are too slow; they are too messy; they take away too much attention from everyone, especially parents. As the protagonist lists little brother Moe’s failings, he appears as a giant snail placidly spooning Cheerios one by one into his mouth and leaving an impressive trail of slime and discarded items in his wake. However, when adults are not around, younger siblings can be fun. It is when the protagonist is alone with Moe that his joyful, exuberant, human-self emerges. Kid Moe runs fast, and his favorite game is tag. He also plays basketball and hopscotch, jumps rope, and climbs the monkey bars. The book is filled with wonderful details: Mom’s raised eyebrows, Dad’s striped socks and no shoes, and the protagonist’s fiercely crossed arms. Slow Moe the snail takes up at least a quarter of the couch, and the stairway carpet drips through the railings (or is that more slime?). Lent Roland, the French edition, publishes simultaneously, and Rachel Martinez’s translation offers some delights absent from the original, such as the title character’s contrast with his 11th-century literary forebear. In either language, the title character reminds readers that we are different people depending upon whom we are with and that familial relationships are complex and simple at the same time. Characters appear to be white.

Young readers will love the moment when Moe turns from snail to human child.

(Picture book. 3-7)