Cosmo: A Cautionary Tale

Overview

Cosmo has lived on the island of Sonamba all of his life. As its self-appointed guardian, each day he patches the wall that surrounds it. He does this while reciting the following instructions: "Hammer in a stick from the billabom bush, then smear it with the tar from the ticamo tree."

He does this to prevent a fate so terrible that it can not be thought about. He does it successfully until the day the townspeople decide to honor him, then ...

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Overview

Cosmo has lived on the island of Sonamba all of his life. As its self-appointed guardian, each day he patches the wall that surrounds it. He does this while reciting the following instructions: "Hammer in a stick from the billabom bush, then smear it with the tar from the ticamo tree."

He does this to prevent a fate so terrible that it can not be thought about. He does it successfully until the day the townspeople decide to honor him, then disaster strikes.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
On the walled island of Sonamba, a white-haired man named Cosmo spends his days repairing a dike. As he patches leaks, he recites a simple mantra: "Hammer in a stick from the Billabom Bush,/ Then smear it with the tar from the Ticamo Tree." One day, "a genius" in a green suit praises Cosmo's quiet labor. Against Cosmo's wishes, the genius insists that the Mayor (a Monopoly type with an auburn mustache and shiny top hat) throw an official fete for the humble repairman. The pomp and circumstance disrupts Cosmo's routine and confuses him mightily; when the dike needs urgent attention, nobody else can identify a Billabom Bush or a Ticamo Tree. Arkin (The Lemming Condition) focuses on the folly of the leaders who interrupt the tireless, uncomplicated efforts of the Common Man. Meanwhile the islanders are right to complain that Cosmo "kept all the magic for himself" by not teaching them how to plug "the holes when they [need] plugging." As the flood begins, the people's cooperation is too little, too late. Richards contributes sporadic color cartoons of oddball islanders, including a punk rocker and a guy in lederhosen, who seem to be the direct result of a how-to-draw-caricatures book. From the foolish rulers to the dimwitted citizenry, nobody comes off well in this allegory. Ages 8-10. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-This tale starts out on a promising note but ultimately disappoints. Cosmo's job is to ensure that the wall surrounding his island country remains intact, since this particular island is so much lower than the sea. He can only do his job by repeating the words that tell him how: "Hammer in a stick from the Billabom Bush, Then smear it with the tar from the Ticamo Tree." But when a genius observes him, he convinces the mayor to throw a celebration in Cosmo's honor. Cosmo just wants to work, but when he doesn't show up for his own party, the Mayor sends the Chief of Police to get him. When he continues mending holes instead of participating, he is thrown in jail. Of course, by the time Cosmo is released and tries to fix the leaks, the situation is beyond hope-and he is blamed. With the island flooded, a disgusted Cosmo finds another island and settles down with a nice woman, refusing for a long time even to speak of past events. When the mayor's son sends a note saying that Cosmo should have been left alone to do his job, he is comforted to some extent. Although written with a light and humorous touch, and supported by amusing, brightly colored illustrations, this is essentially a silly tale that has a lot to say, has a lot of action, but never makes its point clear.-Jane Marino, Bronxville Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781929115129
  • Publisher: Azro Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2005
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 years
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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