With Willems’ name on it, this abecedary is bound to be zany—and it is.
This over-the-top “smorgasbord” is a tale of a raucous creature that chomps and chews everything in sight, from A to Z. But wait—this is not one of Willems’ simple Elephant and Piggie early readers, nor is it the story of a little girl and her beloved stuffed bunny. This creature is not avian, but it’s a kissing cousin to Willems’ pigeon. The blocky purple character with googly orange eyes wears a blue-and-red–striped shirt and pants (or perhaps pajamas), and it has a black, bulbous nose and protruding white teeth. The beginning letters of its monumental meal stand for common edible items: “Apple! Berries! Cereal!” Then it goes bananas, eating “Furniture!…Kilt! Lunch Box! [and] Napkins!” that induce a run to the “POTTY!” No one will be surprised to learn that the creature is “Queasy” and needs to “Vomit.” An adult figure arrives on the scene with hugs and kisses (“XO-XO-XO!”), and the creature emits a huge “YAWN…” and is finally “Zonked.” Children will follow right along with the creature’s mishaps, and they will enjoy predicting (incorrectly) what it might eat and (correctly) what happens as its face starts to turn green. They’ll also appreciate the kindliness of the adult figure who shows no anger but instead tends lovingly to its charge.
For readers on the Pigeon end of the spectrum, this will hit the spot, but those who love Willems’ quieter protagonists may find it an abrupt change of pace. (Picture book. 4-6)