THE THREE MOUTHS OF LITTLE TOM DRUM

Inventors and pie lovers will find this one delicious.

Little Tom Drum’s love of strawberry pie leads to a lot more than he bargained for.

Willard spins a modern fairy tale about a boy, his gluttony for strawberry pie and one careless wish. When 8-year-old Little Tom Drum wishes for three mouths so he can eat more pie, he wakes up to find two extra mouths, one in his left cheek and one in his right, which makes him look like a monster to his parents. They feel they cannot send their boy to school and hire a tutor to work with their son. In between reading books on “mathematics and giraffes and gardening,” Little Tom Drum learns about the world and creates amazing inventions with items found around his house in a workshop built by his father. On his ninth birthday, a box with a wishing machine arrives on his doorstep, and Little Tom Drum carefully puts it together and, much more carefully this time, makes his wish. While waiting for his wish to come true, he discovers his real gift: solving others’ problems with his inventive mind. Hawkes’ detailed pen-and-ink–and-pastel illustrations extend Willard’s deadpan humor with just enough creepiness. (Three mouths turn out to be remarkably unnerving.)  The old-time clothing adds to the fairy-tale feel. Fans of Hawkes’ illustrations for Paul Fleischman’s Weslandia (1999) will find welcome connections here.

Inventors and pie lovers will find this one delicious. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-5476-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

As ephemeral as a valentine.

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 1, 2021

SLUG IN LOVE

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace.

A slug longs for a hug and finds it unexpectedly.

Doug the slug would really like a hug and plods on, seeking affection. But a caterpillar, bug, spider, and worm want no part of hugging a slug. They are just not feeling it (might they feel sluggish?), voicing their disdain in no uncertain terms with expressions like, “Grimy, slippy!” and “Squelchy, slimy!” What’s a slug to do? Undeterred, Doug keeps trying. He meets Gail, a snail with crimson lipstick and hip, red glasses; she happens to be as grimy and squelchy as he is, so he figures she is the hugger of his dreams. The two embark upon a madcap romantic courtship. Alas, Gail also draws the (slimy) line at hugging Doug. Finally, mournful Doug meets the best hugger and the true love of his life, proving there’s someone for everyone. This charmer will have readers rooting for Doug (and perhaps even wanting to hug him). Expressed in simple, jaunty verses that read and scan smoothly, the brief tale revolves around words that mainly rhyme with Doug and slug. Given that the story stretches vocabulary so well with regard to rhyming words, children can be challenged after a read-aloud session to offer up words that rhyme with slug and snail. The colorful and humorous illustrations are lively and cheerful; googly-eyed Doug is, like the other characters, entertaining and expressive. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Sweet, reassuring fun—and a story to fully embrace. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-66590-046-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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