It’s probably a good thing they don’t let me do storytimes all the time. When I come across books like Barnacle is Bored and Little Red, I really can’t wait to see how the younger crowd will react. Many of them, I know, will laugh uproariously when the final joke is revealed, even though it’s a little dark. Some parents are right there with you on it, but others, (sadly, think) believe books for young children should not be dark or even a little snarky. They are looking for more gentle and warm/fuzzy books. They somehow think that kids should be protected from everything outside their cozy little boxes. I, on the other hand, am that person who gives I Want My Hat Back for a baby gift.
Anyway, Barnacle is Bored and Little Red popped up on my holds list this week. Barnacle really is bored. His whole life is predictable. He wonders how much more fun it would be if he were that polka-dotted fish. It would be really fun, he thinks, except for that bigger fish with the big teeth and all. Ha! The way the illustrations play with the text (in a boring font) is delightful. Barnacle’s expressions are sooo bored and then later so surprised. Perfect!
The illustrations also make Little Red. I started laughing when Wolf imagines Little Red and Grandma on a dinner plate, and didn’t really stop until the end. Although it’s mostly gray, black and white, the splashes of red and bold, wacky drawings add to the humor of the text, which is just a little unpredictable even with such a predictable story.
If your dark, bitter, snarky side needs a few more laughs after you’ve read Barnacle is Bored and Little Red, take a look at these earlier posts.
Barnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske, Little Red by Bethan Woolvin