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SQUASH IT! by Eric A. Kimmel


A True and Ridiculous Tale

adapted by Eric A. Kimmel & illustrated by Robert Rayevsky

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: May 15th, 1997
ISBN: 0-8234-1299-7
Publisher: Holiday House

 A humorous adaptation of a Spanish story similar to Verna Aardema's retelling of The Riddle of the Drum (1978, o.p.), although Kimmel (Onions and Garlic, 1996, etc.) cites Ruth Sawyer's Picture Tales from Spain as his source. The king of Spain insists that a louse that has bitten him must be treated royally, since it now has royal blood. The indulged insect grows to an enormous size, and when it dies, the king secretly has a guitar fashioned from its carcass. He invites all and sundry to guess the marvelous substance of which his guitar is made, offering marriage to one of his daughters as the prize. A peasant ventures to Madrid to try his luck, and a flea he has befriended solves the mystery. Each of the three princesses, horrified at the prospect of having to marry the peasant, bribes him not to choose her, and he departs with immense treasure and a strong mule (more valuable than a lazy princess). The flea remains at court, working his way up the ranks until he can bite the king. Kimmel's retelling, with judiciously chosen details, is good for reading aloud to kids who relish a bit of grossness in their story- hour diet. Rayevsky's boldly outlined illustrations are as earthy as the tale. (Picture book/folklore. 6-10)