Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"With a whiff of limburger and a touch of Lake Wobegon, Keillor serves up the story of a man so enamored of malodorous cheese that he is arrested for smelling up the neighborhood," said PW of this slapstick rhyme. All ages. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Leila Toledo
Glorifying an eating disorder and firing butterscotch custard, sticky buns, and lemon meringue at an old man is not the type of message we want to send to children. I don't even approve of egg-toss contests at picnics because that is food wasted. And, with the number of children who go to bed hungry, it just does not seem an appropriate topic. A boo that may appeal more to adults.
School Library Journal
(K-Gr 3) - A disappointing story about a man addicted to cheese - the smellier the better. His addiction causes his family to leave him, and he is finally arrested by the "cheese police" and brought to trial. His son returns to save him, showing him his new grandson and asking him to promise to give up cheese. All ends happily, except perhaps for the dairy industry, which could justifiably ask why mild cheeses are treated with the same opprobrium as the pungent varieties. Children may enjoy the grossness of Keillor's descriptions, but they aren't likely to relate to the protagonist and his wife, reunited and "...very deeply satisfied,/With sunny days and beautiful views,/A low-fat lunch and a daily snooze..." The rhyming text scans unevenly, making the book difficult to read aloud. The illustrations are lively and cartoonlike, reminiscent of Tomi Ungerer's work, especially in the crowd, police, and courtroom scenes, although without that artist's grotesque humor. There are numerous titles about food fixations, but most, like Mary Rayner's Mrs. Pig's Bulk Buy (Atheneum, 1981), come down on the side of moderation rather than total withdrawal. - Pam Gosner, Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
From Keillor (Cat, You Better Come Home, 1995), another tale of gustatory excess and ultimate redemption. Wallace P. Flynn's fondness for cheesethe smellier the betterdrives away his family, causes passing animals to faint, and at last forces the neighbors to call the Cheese Police. Flynn steadfastly refuses to forego the fromageuntil his son, presenting a wife and child, offers an alluring alternative: "Why devote your life to cheese/When you can have a grandbaby on your knees?" Quitting the queso cold turkey, Flynn finds his wife in the Hebrides and settles down to a life of low-fat bliss.
The cheery cheesehead capers giddily through the energetically drawn and brushed watercolors of Wilsdorf (Princess, 1993), as comic expressions of dismay on surrounding people and animals change to pleased smiles after Flynn's reformation. Using, it seems, every conceivable rhyme scheme, Keillor sacrifices smoothness of reading and stretches the text a bit further than it needs to go, but his gift for Ogden Nash style rhymes will have readers rolling in the aisles: "From now on this shall be my goal: a/Life of zero Gorgonzola."