Two brothers create four fine and loopy entertainments to fill their day.
At daybreak, “Charlie woke up. There was a lump beside him.” (In bed, under the covers, as Hughes’ wry artwork relates.) “He poked the lump. The lump moaned.” It’s Mouse, who moans that he is sleeping. Charlie challenges that. “How can you be sleeping?...You are talking.” They get up and go poke the two lumps in their parents’ bed. “I am a mom,” the lump announces. “I can do what I want.” This same spirit informs the following three sagas in this early reader. One is a gathering parade to a neighborhood party, featuring a variety of genders, classes, and races. Mixed-race Charlie and Mouse have a white mom and an Asian dad; Mouse, although he takes the masculine pronoun, wears a pink tutu. Next Charlie and Mouse try to earn some money by selling rocks. Neither the elderly brown lady nor the interracial gay couple are in the market, but they do need rocks removed and will pay for the service. Mom, want it or not, gets a rock garden. Lastly, the boys create a new tradition: a bedtime banana, only to conspire after lights out that a bedtime Popsicle may be better. Snyder serves the stories with propulsive good cheer and a pleasing cadence, keeping the pages flipping, while Hughes’ illustrations have crazy-quilt complexity and visual texture.
A top-notch early reader, with words and art in perfect step. (Early reader. 6-9)