It takes something special to get a kid to stop picking his nose—that's just what happens to one unlucky child in Shulman’s (Monster Bash, 2009) story for primary-grade readers.
Nose-picking is a rather touchy subject for kids. They love to laugh about it even as they keep picking, much to the frustration and disgust of parents. In Shulman’s engaging read, one child learns the hard way why nose-picking can be something others find distasteful, particularly when the digging is done in public places. Synonyms for boogers are legion; most could be categorized as regional slang or just in the questionable vocabulary of the young and young at heart. Called boogies, floaters and plenty more, their popularity–grossness factor has never been in doubt. Consequently, nose-picking has been mined by many authors in the world of young adult and children's literature: Writers such as Carolyn Beck (Richard Was a Picker) and Gordon Korman (the Nose Pickers From Outer Space series) have tackled admittedly crude subject matter, typically in a grossly humorous and slightly educational manner. Shulman's light tale takes a similar slant, showing the negative aspects of nose-picking via the amusing situation of an old man rooting in his nostrils next to a mom and her nose-picking–addicted son, and the subsequent gross-out that encounter entails. Richly illustrated by Mike Motz, the wildly vivid, colorful drawings provide a freshness and dry sarcasm to the tale. The young nose-picker learns how his obsession differs from his dad's with ear hair or his grandfather's with fake teeth. Of course, some readers may find the story a bit over the top in regard to its descriptive prose and illustrated mucus—particularly the green slime wearing pilot's goggles—but for others, Shulman's tale could be the perfect way to break a child's bad habit.
Despite the degree of gross humor, Shulman has picked a delightful winner.