While Dewey Dew is adjusting well to life on Earth, he still has trouble with a few things, mostly the pronunciation of the word “love” and the bully at school.
The first one can be a problem, especially in the month of February, when “wuhbuh” is on everyone’s mind. His mother tries to help him, but Dewey’s frustration rises to tantrum levels. Her soothing reassurance, “Shee shoo-shoo tanna-wattoo,” sounds “like honey and birds’ wings and safety and singing,” and it’s easy for Dewey Dew to say. But that doesn’t help when faced with Brutus Auralias’ taunting “Wubbah Boy.” “Dewey’s urdle tightened. His eyeball squeezed. Blue-black smoke rose dangerously from his hork.” Just in time his loyal friends save the day, twice in fact. But the teasing leaves Dewey Dew fantasizing about leaving Earth behind…until he devises a solution that encapsulates the sentiment behind Valentine’s Day: he teaches his class to say “I love you” in his language. And they have just as much trouble with it as he has with the word “love.” His effort brings the whole class together, even Brutus. Mack’s pencil, watercolor, and digital illustrations work in tandem with Staub’s marvelously inventive language to ensure readers understand Dewey’s Eighty-N words. And the characters’ facial expressions and posture speak volumes all on their own.
A powerful message about the support of friends and defusing a bully wrapped in a sweet Valentine tale. (Picture book. 4-8)