Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978



Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Wicked Big Toddlah

The Wicked Big Toddlah

Fall 2007 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Kevin Hawkes
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
ISBN: 9780375824272
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Review:

This original tall tale is so outrageously over-sized it escapes the normal confines of its pages and begins on the front endpapers where a miniscule stork (lugging a huge blanket wrapped burden) can be seen winging its way through a vast blue sky with the earth as a backdrop. The burden quickly reveals its contents to be the wicked big "toddlah" of the title who has to be lugged home on a lumber truck, who requires mechanical assistance and men in "haz-mat" suits to change his diaper, and who mistakes the ice cream cone on the top of the truck for the real thing, dispatching vehicle and all. The shifting seasons and the Maine setting provide ample opportunity for mind-bending encounters between the baby and the back woods: startled blueberry pickers flee as his gargantuan face appears over a hill, Christmas lights crash as he takes his first steps, and maple sugaring turns into a maple mess. There’s not a lot of story here; the fun’s in the pictures. And fun they are: zany perspectives, goofy details (a bemused bovine with a sign that reads "Don’t shoot. I’m a cow"), and an apple-cheeked baby totally unaware of the havoc he is causing all add up to a whole lot of tongue-in-cheek fun. Pair this with Swamp Angel for another tall tale nouveau with a female lead. Maine accent optional.

Kristi Elle Jemtegaard   ©2007 Parents' Choice
Kristi Elle Jemtegaard is the Coordinator of Youth Services for the Arlington Public Library system. She has taught courses on children’s and young adult literature at the Catholic University of America and the University of Virginia. She has served on both the Newbery and Caldecott Award Committees of the American Library Association and has chaired the Notable Children’s Recordings Committee and the May Hill Arbuthnot Award Committee. She is a member and past president of the Children’s Book Guild of Washington DC and has chaired the Washington Post–Book Guild Nonfiction Award Committee. She is a founding member of Capitol Choices, an organization of professionals in the field of children’s literature in the greater Washington DC area. She regularly reviews children’s literature and audio productions for a variety of national publications.


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