Thursday, April 10

Me Hungry!


by Jeremy Tankard
Candlewick 2008

Edwin the Caveboy is hungry, but Ma and Pa Cavepeople are busy (Pa is trying to figure out how to navigate a peanut with a club, Ma's got a gaggle of younger kids to deal with), so Edwin decides to go hunting for himself!

Rabbit hides, Porcupine is too sharp, Tiger is too mean, it looks like Edwin will go hungry until he comes across a Mastodon who shares his hunger and together they go in search of food. Feasting together on apples, Edwin calls out "We busy!" when called to dinner by his Pa.

Tankard knocked it out of the park last year with Grumpy Bird, his picture book featuring a bird with an attitude problem. This time around the only thing holding back my enthusiasm is that the illustrations feel a bit thin. They're lacking the density, the texture of the multiple layers. Same charming characters, same great, vibrant colors. Same playfulness. Perhaps someone suggested that the backgrounds in Grumpy Bird didn't "track well" with younger readers. I heard someone say that. I scoffed when I heard it, to the dismay of the adult scoffee.

To those who might be worried about Edwin's "cavespeak," believing it might be as horrid as the goo-goo Junie B. Jones dialect, fear not. Everyone in Me Hungry! speaks the patois of subject-verb -- adults, animals, and kids -- implying the early development of language instead of cloying malapropisms. It works, it's fun, nothing cloying about it.

Want to see a recent interview with Jeremy Tankard? You should, he's a great dude, and the Imps over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast pull together a great one with the man. Go here, and tell them I sent you.

You can also see my interview with Jeremy from a while back here.
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