My favorite children’s books are the ones that are so
clever, witty and sophisticated that I like them more than
my child does! The Squishiness of Things by
Marc Kompaneyets is one of those special books that enchants
and delights even this jaded 43-year-old reader, and is sure
to do the same for readers of all ages.
The clever and hilarious story centers on a genius named
Hieronymus, who knows about everything, including the
squishiness of many bugs, having himself personally crushed
and squished thousands (16,567 to be exact). He also knows
about other stuff, like how sausages bounce and how many
lentils it would take to dam up the Nile, and whether or not
ink tasted salty (yuk!). In fact, in his lab, Hieronymus is
the wisest man on earth, until he spots a mysterious hair
that he cannot identify, even from his collection of 36
million kinds of hairs.
Off he goes on a worldwide quest in search of someone who
can tell him more about the mysterious hair. He meets with
some pretty strange folks with some pretty strange names.
But none of them can tell him where the hair originated.
Like most of us, Hieronymus finds his answer right where he
started his search, so to speak. Accompanied by wonderful
and rich illustrations that bring the determined genius to
life and give emotion and depth to the strange people he
encounters, the text is witty and intelligent, and many
times downright laugh-out-loud funny. Author Marc
Kompaneyets, a Moscow native who came to California to study
art in 1981, has truly created a fine first picture book
that is a stand-out in a sea of children’s books that often
look and sound the same.
The Squishiness of Things combines great
storytelling, eye-catching illustrations and a theme that
hopefully will instill a love for knowledge and the wonder
of exploring the world around us in every child that reads
it. Even adults will get a fresh jolt of the “curiosities”
with this book, and might even set off in search of answers
to their own questions – like, where do all those shoes on
the side of the freeway come from?
||Marie D. Jones/2005 for curled
up with a good kid's book
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