A self-conscious sewer-dwelling monster learns that everyone is just as weird as he is.
Rumple Buttercup has “5 crooked teeth / 3 strands of hair / Green skin / And his left foot was slightly bigger than his right.… // He was weird.” He’s convinced that his appearance will scare people, so he lives in a sewer, listening to the conversations of passers-by and wishing he could participate. The only day he joins in the life of the community is during the Annual Pajama Jam Cotton Candy Pancake Parade, because he believes no one will notice him under his banana-peel disguise. But when he can’t find a banana peel, he believes he’ll have to miss out on the festivities until a young boy calls down the sewer drain asking about him. Turns out that he’s been a beloved, eccentric community member all along, and when he emerges, he finds that everyone feels like a disheveled weirdo on the inside. A hybrid blend of picture book, chapter book, and surrealist comic, the story is sweet and tame despite the creepy strangeness of Rumple Buttercup. Unsettling but affectionate drawings carry the story, with crude but expressive sketches and subdued color. The overall message is obvious but well-meaning and could equally appeal to elementary school reluctant readers or adolescent misfits.
Not quite any one kind of book, this story will appeal to a variety of readers with a taste for the odd. (Fable. 6-14)