K-Gr 4-Hank, a red-haired, freckle-faced boy, does everything halfway. He wears one skate and makes a "figure four" instead of a figure eight, his hair is combed on just one side, and he washes his face but always misses his feet. He gets along just fine until the games begin at the county barbecue, where he joins his sister's team and jeopardizes its success in several competitions. Eggs fall off the half spoon he brings to the spoon-and-egg race, his half canoe sinks, and he performs only half the steps in the square dance, causing quite a mess. By the time they reach the 100-meter dash, Demi has had it with her brother. Instead of giving up, Hank tricks himself into going the full distance by pretending he's in a 200-meter run ("-when he reached the halfway mark,/Hank passed it like a missile!/The judge was so surprised,/He blew his nose and picked his whistle") and wins first place. In the end, Hank remains true to himself and, of course, shares half the trophy with his sister. Comical cartoons complement this rhyming tale. The illustrations are filled with exaggerated faces and explode with humorous detail. The text and artwork add up to a story that is not half bad.-Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A lad gets around a predilection for doing things halfway in this jocular ditty. Hank A. Mezzomezzo's lawn is half-mown, his bedroom tidy on just one side; he wears but one skate and cuts figure fours on it. When his town's Hoe-Down Days roll around, he creates chaos in the egg race by trying to use a half-spoon, and discovers that half of a canoe just won't float. Davis supplies freckled figures with his trademark oversized, pop-eyed heads. Hank starts out with a confident look, loses his grin after a succession of misadventures, then finally regains it after figuring out that all he has to do to finish a hundred meter race (thus also appeasing his steaming big sister Demi) is to convince himself that it's a two hundred meter race. It works like a charm: "When he reached the halfway mark, / Hank passed it like a missile! / The judge was so surprised, / He blew his nose and picked his whistle." No overt moralizing here, but young readers with Hank-like habits will surely finish the whole thing. (Picture book. 6-8)