Michael’s love of words is celebrated in speech bubbles and comedic situations.
Michael notices words everywhere, from signs on the highway to commercials on the television. At school, his teacher, Mrs. Dixon, gives the class a new spelling word every day. He saves his words in a box under his bed. Everything is fine until one day, on the school bus, he hears a new word that is “very inappropriate.” Though he knows the word is bad, there is something Michael likes about the word, and he continues to share it. Soon, all the kids at school are using it. When wise Mrs. Dixon gets wind of the situation, she comes up with her own way to replace this word with something more appropriate. It’s nice to see a boy (and a boy of color, no less) be so interested in words. Comic-book elements work well with Coverly’s droll cartoon style, especially the frequent use of shaped speech bubbles, which give his word collection delightful physicality. Michael’s eyes bulge and his ears flap, making him easy to find on the energetic pages. (His father’s eyes bulge too, but in a distracting way that makes it look like he has an extra eye, something children are sure to notice.) Teachers will enjoy this amusing celebration of vocabulary and will find many ways to spur their students’ imaginations into creating speech bubbles of their own.
Young word lovers will have lots to peruse here. (Picture book. 4-9)