by Scot Ritchie
When Federica invites the animals from the park back to her house, chaos ensues ... and cleanliness?
About the Author-
Scot is an award-winning illustrator and author with more than 50 books to his credit. His books have been translated into French, Korean, Indonesian, Polish, Finnish, Arabic and Dutch. Scot has worked with the National Film Board of Canada and has had his illustrations exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada. He lives in Vancouver.
June 15, 2017
Dirty dishes, food and leaves on the floor, mice, nasty insects like big-eyed flies, spiders, mice, a butterfly or two--what is a tidy little girl to do? Federica's dad is busy with his telescope. Federica's mum (wearing rollerblades) is occupied with her laptop and her painting. Her little brother seems perfectly content, but the "buggy, buzzy mess" amusingly pictured in the first double-page spread really bothers Federica. She goes to the park for respite. It's full of unusual creatures: a goat and some sheep. There are also raccoons, an owl, a toad, and, of course, insects. It's there that the young white girl thinks of a plan that will transform her messy house. There is a hint of the Yiddish folk tale familiar from It Could Always Be Worse, by Margot Zemach (1977). Federica brings all the park animals into her home, but here the animals are not meant to crowd out the humans but rather to eat the flies and mice, clean the kitchen, and consume the long grass. The resourceful girl succeeds in making her house fit for habitation again and releases the animals back to the park. The loose ink-and-Adobe Photoshop illustrations are a riot, milking the absurdity for all it's worth. At the end, the mother rollerblades as she washes the floor, with baby brother riding the mop. There's plenty of yuck-factor silliness, and the penultimate spread, of the family uniting for "cleanup hour," is very inviting. (Picture book. 4-7)
COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
August 1, 2017
PreS-Gr 1-Federica is a small girl with a big problem. She lives in a messy home with quirky parents too busy to clean. To escape all the dirt, clutter, bugs, and vermin indoors, Federica visits a nearby park. The park inspires her to solve the problem. Bring the creatures who live at the park to her home to do what they do naturally-eat, chase, and lick. To start with, she brings in sheep and goats, graciously asking her father's permission first, and he distractedly assents. Spider and dragonflies, toads and owls, and, lastly, raccoons follow Federica into her messy home, up the stairs, and into her bedroom. For the second part of her plan, the girl asks her mother if the family, including her baby sibling, can picnic. As soon as the family members leave, the herd of creatures go to work, chomping up bugs, mice, and garbage; eating overgrown plants; and even cleaning the dishes with their tongues. When everyone gets home, the house is sparkling clean and, to the surprise of Mum and Dad, the helpful creatures are still there. They go back to the park, and Federica and her family visit them, but only after taking time each day to keep the house clean. Ritchie has created ink and computer rendered comiclike illustrations. The first two pages, a double illustration of a very messy family kitchen, perfectly set the mood for the entire book. With goggle-eyed bugs and household items strewn about, children will enjoy pointing at items in the illustrations and naming them. Plenty of conversational prose breaks up the longer passages and keeps the story engaging. VERDICT Children and caregivers are sure to savor this tale of a problem-solving girl; a strong choice for picture book shelves.-Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services
Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
PublisherGroundwood Books Ltd
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