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THE SULKY VULTURE by Sally Grindley


by Sally Grindley & illustrated by Michael Terry

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-58234-794-8
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Recalcitrant youngsters will recognize themselves in Grindley’s (No Trouble At All, p. 882, etc.) hard-to-please hero (“Head pulled down, shoulders hunched up, toes curled in, Boris the vulture was sulking”) and catch on quickly to Grindley’s predictable story structure. “What’s the matter, Boris?” asks each of his friends before attempting to cheer him up. Terry’s (Rhino’s Horns, 2001, etc.) full-bleed illustrations convey Boris’s subtle mood changes. For example, Boris’s meeting with Marvin the monkey is expressed in a trio of vignettes as the young vulture moves from excitement to fear as he rides a swing. The double-page spread that follows depicts Boris down in the dumps; he’s fallen off the swing and skinned his head. “Can I have a cuddle?” he asks his mother. Unfortunately, Terry’s illustration doesn’t convey the slightest bit of tenderness, even though it’s implied in Grindley’s text. Boris looks just as sour as he was in the beginning and his parents appear angry and cold. The incongruity is confusing; by the end of this story, readers will likely be just as sulky as Boris. (Picture book. 4-8)