From the Publisher
Italian artist Montanari pictures her snaggle-toother, troll-like family from all angles. A fresh treatment of a perennial situation.
Young readers will relate to this tale of the importance of family togetherness...the narrative is enhanced by dreamy illustrations.
School Library Journal
Canted floors, greenish lighing, mottled coloration, and a cast of smurf-like, peg-toothed goblins gives this pointed lesson in the hazards of sibling squabbles that arty "European" look.
Despite her characters' unusual appearance, Italian author-artist Montanari invents a family with whom many youngsters can identify.
The rhythmic iteration of the various sibling sequences, punctuated by the repeated plaintive query, gives the text an effective cadence and tight structure.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Sisters and brothers squabble. Even sisters and brothers with frilly cow ears, red snouts, green skin and tufty hairdos. Despite her characters' unusual appearance, Italian author-artist Montanari invents a family with whom many youngsters can identify. Mummy, in an effort to prevent fights about who is last, strives to take care of all three offspring at once, using a variety of hilariously outsize domestic tools to feed and groom them. "To avoid arguments, Mummy squeezes toothpaste onto the same huge toothbrush. Then she brushes Taff, Tiff, and Lulu's teeth from right to left." In a weird, fish-eye-angle view, Montanari pictures the children standing in line open-mouthed as Mummy wields the giant paste-bearing instrument, but it doesn't work. " `Why am I always last?' Taff pouts." The spoon that feeds the trio breakfast stretches across a spread (" `Why am I always last?' Tiff whimpers"). The last straw comes when Mummy purchases a Seussian scooter that fits the whole family, but the children fight anyway, of course, causing Mummy to fall and hurt herself. "Just look where your quarrels have landed us!" she shouts. "I love you all the same huge, identical way!" Tiff, Taff and Lulu bring Mummy home and care for her without a murmur-for a while. The roughness and strange angles of Montanari's acrylic-and-pencil compositions echo the troll-like children's contrary natures, but the artwork manages at the same time to convey the warmth of Mummy's huge, identical love for her creatures. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Their poor mummy tries so hard to be fair, but one of the three sisters, Tiff, Taff, or Lulu, always complains when she is the last. When they start fighting on the motor scooter, it falls over and Mummy's leg is hurt. They manage together to get her home, bandage her leg, and even feed her some soup. She reminds them how important it is that they have worked together without fighting. All seems to end peacefully, but... The story's premise is an ordinary one, expressing feelings common in most multi-child families. But the acrylic and colored-pencil illustrations that fill the double pages are surreal compositions, depicting the trio and mother with strange heads, almost pig-like faces, and weird hair, to say nothing of their odd behavior in the sparest of settings. The comb Mummy uses to comb all their hair is twice as big as she is, as is an equally large toothbrush and soup spoon. The green tinge of their complexions mark them as unusual to say the least. These visuals have a strong impact, carrying with them a sense of the exotic, perhaps because of the Italian author-illustrator. There is a lesson in the tale, however, that perhaps will shame squabbling siblings. 2004, Houghton Mifflin Company, Ages 4 to 8.
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this tale of sibling rivalry, three monster sisters spend much of their time bickering and complaining. Even though their mother does her best to be fair, "Why am I always last?" is a chronic refrain in their household. Tiff, Taff, and Lulu learn a valuable lesson about love and cooperation when Mummy is injured in a motor scooter accident. Forgetting their differences, the youngsters join forces to take care of her when she needs them. At the end of their trying day, their mother reminds her daughters "how important it is to do things together, without fighting," and they all snuggle down into her bed for a well-deserved rest. The narrative is enhanced by dreamy illustrations rendered in muted shades done in acrylics and colored pencils. The characters have lots of personality. Young readers will relate to this tale of the importance of family togetherness, and the fact that it revolves around a group of monsters gives it extra appeal.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Canted floors, greenish lighting, mottled coloration, and a cast of smurf-like, peg-toothed goblins gives this pointed lesson in the hazards of sibling squabbles that arty, "European" look. Though Tiff, Taff, and Lulu do everything together, from bathing to breakfasting, someone has to come last-and that someone invariably complains, loudly. Their irritated mother tries her best to be evenhanded-"I love you all the same huge, identical way!" It takes a scooter accident caused by their bickering to get them working cooperatively; together they carry their injured parent home, tend to her, and put themselves to bed. "'Now you know how important it is to do things together, without fighting!'" No, not exactly, as it turns out-but young readers will get the point, and may be amused by the wild-haired figures. (Picture book. 6-8)