Monday, March 18, 2019

Terrific tongues by Maria Gianferrari, illustrated by Jia Liu

This book is for anyone who finds a little gleeful pleasure in encouraging a roomful of toddlers to stick their tongues out at people. Heh heh heh.

The story opens with a cute monkey sticking out her tongue towards some ice cream and a description of all the tools a tongue can be. "If you had a tongue like a sword, you might be a ..." the picture accompanying this shows the monkey with a long, sharp tongue fencing. Who has a sword-like tongue? Turn the page and find out that it's a... woodpecker! A red-bellied woodpecker is shown using it's long, barbed tongue to extract insects while the monkey watches from high up in a tree. Additional information about the woodpecker is included in smaller type.

The guessing game continues with the tongues of a moth (straw), frog (party blower), snake (nose), bat (mop), okapi (washcloth), and more. The last spreads show the many uses of a human tongue and a spread of all the creatures and their tongues in the book. Back matter includes more information about the different animals and their tongues and some additional terrific tongues!

Liu's digital illustrations and the layout of the book may definitely bring Steve Jenkins and Robin Page's books to mind, but this is definitely its own animal. Liu's illustrations mimic cut paper but are more colorful and detailed, especially in the wider scenes. They also offer more humorous touches, like the monkey using its tongue like a washcloth, covered in birthday cake.

Verdict: The interactive elements and colorful, humorous illustrations make this new animal attribute stand out from the crowd and are sure to guarantee it a success in storytime. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781620917848; Published April 2018 by Boyds Mills Press; Purchased for the library

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