Tales for the Perfect Childby Florence Parry Heide, Victoria Chess (Illustrator)
Meet Ruby. She watches her little brother just like her mother asked her to and keeps right on watching while he turns the house upside down. Then there's Arthur. He listens to his mother and dresses like a perfect gentlemen until some conveniently spilled juice gives him the excuse he needs to slip into something more comfortable. Can any child be trusted to read about these seven perfect little monsters without trying anything equally naughty?
Gr 1–3—A collection of eight short stories about children using clever and sneaky techniques to achieve their objectives. These goals directly conflict with the wishes of their persistent parents. Ruby doesn't want to watch her baby brother. Arthur does not want to get dressed up. Harry does not like carrots. All of these children, and others, plot and scheme to get exactly what they want. The children are represented by humanized animals with telling facial expressions. Ruzzier's two-color illustrations have a playful cartoon art appearance and accompany the text pleasingly. They also capture the hidden perspectives of some of the characters who are taken advantage of in each scenario. Their stories go untold. However, readers can easily identify feelings such as frustration and discontent in their expressive features. The tales have an engaging, poetic flow. Each humorous offering is crafted with an identical rhythmic structure. This format begins by capturing what each new character likes and does not like to do. It then describes the character's predicament and how the conflict is resolved. Heide trusts children to recognize and call out the dishonest and selfish actions and perhaps enjoy a vicarious laugh at the perfectly imperfect behavior. VERDICT A unique title to read aloud and talk about. For large collections.—Deanna Smith, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY
Impeccable instructions for triumphing over grown-ups.Originally published in 1985 with illustrations by Victoria Chess, this pleasing reissue with new illustrations and one new story still showcases spot-on techniques for getting the better of adults. The trim size is invitingly small and each story (there are eight), accessibly short. Where Chess supplied pictures of identical, hairy, but benign monsters, Ruzzier depicts a variety of recognizable anthropomorphic animals. Bertha, a duck in pants and a sweater, knots her own shoelaces to stall for time. Harriet, a kitten in a button-down shirtdress and bow tie, "was a very good whiner. She practiced and practiced, and so of course she got better and better at it." Several characters win by obeying letter but not spirit. Chick Ruby must watch her baby brother, so she watches him take everything, item by item, out of the cupboards and dump them on the kitchen floor. Piglet Harry (star of the new story) can't have ice cream until his carrots "are gone," so he tucks them into a plastic bag in his pocket. Using black and blue ink and ink wash, Ruzzier complements the textual humor by giving the animals indignant eyebrows, sly expressions of superiority, seriously recognizable pouts, and genuine satisfaction at their inevitable victories. While it's fun to imagine this as a manual that will pass clandestinely from child to child, the truth is that most kids know these techniques already. No harm, no foul—and no carrots. (Fiction. 5-8)
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.28(w) x 7.59(h) x 0.23(d)
- Age Range:
- 6 - 10 Years
Meet the Author
Florence Parry Heide (1919–2011) was the author of more than 100 children’s books, including picture books, juvenile novels, two series of young adult mysteries, plays, songbooks, and poetry. She may be best remembered for her now-classic The Shrinking of Treehorn and its two sequels, illustrated by the great Edward Gorey. Florence grew up in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, married during World War Two, and spent her adult life in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with her husband and five children, all of whom grew up listening to the joyful sounds of an old typewriter.
Sergio Ruzzier is the author and illustrator of many children’s books, including A Letter for Leo, Bear and Bee, and Two Mice. He has created comic strips for Italian magazines Linus and Lupo Alberto Magazine. He has also done work for many national and international magazines and book publishers. His work has been awarded by American Illustration, The Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts, The Society of Publication Designers, and Parents’ Choice, and in 2011 he was awarded the Sendak Fellowship. Born in Italy, he lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit Sergio at Ruzzier.com.
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