Friday, June 6, 2008

M is for Mischief: an A to Z of naughty children by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

Hmm. I'm not sure what I think about this. Some of the entries are in the best tradition of naughty-children-being-horribly-and-unbelievably-punished, like Angry Abby, who is eaten by an Awful Alligator. Or Lazy Lenore, "While out on the lake, she won't lift an oar. The boat springs a leak. Now who'll help Lenore?"

But others, like Mischievous Martin and Doodling Daphne just continue on their way without consequences. The naughtinesses are odd mixtures of inappropriate or rowdy behavior, like the Terrible Twins, or just plain nastiness, like Fiendish Frankie and his Frisbee.

I think I'd call this a sort of postmodern version of the traditional naughty children rhymes. There's no particular order or logic behind who gets punished and who doesn't. Sometimes the punishment matches the crime, sometimes the kids get away with their nasty behavior.

But it is fun to read, the rhymes are well-written and have lots of kooky words to enjoy, such as bluster, flan, catastrophic and more. The illustrations are hilarious, with a mix of drawings, photos, and little speech bubbles. While my inner cataloger clamors for order and logic in the children's comeuppance, I think I'll let my inner child just enjoy the wacky story.

Verdict: An additional purchase, as it's not really a good read-aloud for storytime. Add if you have parents and kids who like naughty children books.

ISBN: 978-0525475644; Published July 2008 by Dutton; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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