A typical case of untidiness is taken to a magnificent extreme.
When a boy’s mother warns him that not cleaning up after himself could lead to an infestation of pests, he pooh-poohs her concerns. But then they find a barbarian in the kitchen. After it’s removed, a second one, “who’d come seeking glory. And cheese curls,” is shooed out of the playroom, but by then it’s too late. Barbarians are everywhere, reveling in the messiness they encounter. The family tries traps, a “scare-barian,” exterminators—nothing seems to slow the invaders’ love of spilled chips. Young readers may independently come to the protagonist’s realization that the only way to rid one’s home of barbarians is to do the unthinkable: clean up. A cute ending shows that after the barbarian scourge is eradicated, failure to attend to proper bathtime niceties brings on a new dilemma: pirates! Eaton milks maximum fun and humor out of his illogically logical situation with lovely details such as the barbarians’ tendency to put the protagonist's school supplies and action figures to deliciously gross use. This book may make the prospect of a barbarian invasion seem at least initially appealing, but adults will appreciate the message at its heart. Fearing’s cheeky style perfectly accompanies these grungy, Viking-helmeted, oddly endearing warriors; they seem all to be white underneath the grime, while all the family members have brown hair and light skin.
Break out the mead and pop a horned helmet on your head for the funniest pest invasion this side of Tromsø. (Picture book. 4-7)