That’s right, Cecily. If you make an ugly face, it just might get stuck.
There once was a time that little Cecily Beasley was a grade-A brat. She wouldn’t share; she slurped her food; her belches—public and smirk-enhanced—were stinky. She would stick out her tongue and waggle her fingers, and she took no heed when warned her gesture might freeze just so. Sure’s shootin’, one day her tongue won't retract, and a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher quickly makes a nest thereupon. A doctor counsels the family not to disturb the bird, which can be as feisty and ill-mannered a customer as Cecily. She had to wait—patience not being among her virtues, either—for the eggs to hatch. Fredrickson’s salute to the risks of bad manners is gladdening and admonitory in all the right, playful ways. When the Tongue-snatcher hatchlings stick their collective tongues out at Cecily, it makes for a fair rebuke. Fredrickson also has her share of fun with the dexterity of her rhymes: “It’s a Mockingbeak Tongue-snatcher, rude and tenacious. / They roost on the tongues of the loud and audacious.” Then there are Davis’ illustrations full of fruity, tropical color and theatrical line work; they are spot-on in catching Cecily in her predicament—the sheer misery of having a tongue as big as a mature sea cucumber.
This snazzy cautionary tale packs quite a bite (even with its tongue in the way). (Picture book. 4-7)