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THE FLEA by Laurie Cohen


by Laurie Cohen ; illustrated by Marjorie Béal

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: April 15th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-77147-056-8
Publisher: Owlkids Books

A tiny flea with size issues gets mad rather than wiser in this terse and unsatisfying fable.

Fretting that he’s so small, a flea hops atop a pea, then an apple, then to progressively higher vantages until he’s floating on a cloud. When a bear on the ground, hearing him boast that he’s big, tries to set him straight (“You’re high up in the air. That’s different. I’m big…”), the enraged flea jumps down into his fur to wreak itchy vengeance. The bear concludes that the flea is indeed big—“A big nuisance.” Like the minimal text, Béal’s illustrations are stripped down to essentials. The pea is a green dot floating on the white page, and successive perches are likewise portrayed as very simple geometric or organic shapes. Even readers willing to go with the flow may wonder how the flea, a chubby black oval topping out at (a magnified) 1 mm. in the first picture, can still be a visible dot on a huge skyscraper and then a remote cloud. Not to mention what became of any moral.

Too rudimentary to be more than a joke with a mildly amusing punch line. (Picture book. 5-8)