Monday, March 2, 2015

The Three Mouths of Little Tom Drum by Nancy Willard -- NOT RECOMMENDED

Willard, Nancy The Three Mouths of Little Tom Drum, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. PICTURE BOOK. Candlewick Press, 2015. $16.99. Content: G.

When Little Tom Drum begs for another piece of his mother's strawberry pie, she teases him about having three mouths. Later that evening he sneaks down the stairs to steal another piece -- and actually ends up developing two more mouths. His appalled parents immediately pull him out of school and keep him away from his friends; after all, what will everybody think of a boy who has three mouths? No matter how Tom succeeds with his studies or with the inventions he ends up developing, the main goal is still to make him normal so everyone will approve of him again.

This book is very bizarre, with the plot going in such inexplicably random directions that I was certain it would end up all being a dream since it was the only way I could think of for all the threads to be tied up. Also, for a book that explains itself so sparsely, it has a lot of words -- 48 dense pages, in fact. I'm assuming the lesson is not to be greedy, but so much time is spent on the family worrying about Tom being different and what the neighbors will think, that the takeaway is that being different is bad. That's not a message I can get behind at all. Finally, while the illustrations are very pretty, their old-fashioned feel is likely to be more appealing to adults than to children.

EL (K-3) -- NOT RECOMMENDED. Reviewer: Caryn

No comments: