A sweet little ragamuffin, by nature and nurture, is drawn to dirt.
Gert likes dirt. Dirt is, elementarily, her thing. Gert likes dirt to the point of geophagy, or as Arnold tenderly puts it, she is a “soil internalizer.” Nothing wrong with that. Cultures have been scarfing dirt since the dawn. Lots of minerals. Worms idolize Gert, of course. As she is just a toddler, we understand that dirt is in her nature. As for nurture: “Mom and Dad did not get mad. / They simply supervised her.” The text arrives in somewhat furtive couplets, spinning out rhymes to “-izer” with effortless abandon. It’s as delightful as Arnold’s bold, comical artwork, which is full of brimming, grimy presence. Then comes the rain, and Gert puts down roots; “Out came the sun. Oh, wow! What FUN! / It photosynthesized her!” She sprouts leaves, too. The local news arrives to see what Gert can do for them, and so do lawyers and botanists and Hollywood. Gert begins to wilt under all the attention. Enter her parents to shoo away all the pests and make sure Gert gets the loam she needs, there at the dinner table, her feet nestled in a flower pot. A wonderful sense of protectiveness and appreciation pervades this story, speaking directly to the marvels that life has in store.
Vegans, locavores, farm-to-table enthusiasts, take note—Gert is as organic as they come and a genuine delectation, worms and all. (Picture book. 4-8)