Monday, August 9, 2010

National Smile Week

All across our country kids are going back to school this week. It’s also National Smile Week. We’ll leave it to you to decide who is smiling the most. If you are trying to get clothes, books, pencils, backpacks, water bottles, lunches, all those school “musts” organized, you’ll have great sympathy for Mr. Tuggle.

MR. TUGGLE’S TROUBLES by LeeAnn Blankenship, illustrated by Karen Dugan, Boyds Mills Press, 2005

It’s Monday morning. All seems serene. Mr. Tuggle and the cats sprawled across his bed yawn and open their eyes to a bright sunny day. If they knew what was ahead, they’d crawl under the bed and keep sleeping.

Are you hunting for your child’s shoes when the school bus pulls to a stop at the corner? Well, Mr. Tuggle finds his shoes. He just can’t find his hat. So he goes without it, but that soon proves to be a disaster in the making. So he improvises.

The next day Mr. Tuggle can’t find his shoes. So he improvises again.

The week continues and young readers relate. Giggles grow at each page turn.

The artist dedicates this book “To all the Mr. Tuggles of the world (and you know who we are).” Clearly, she had fun bringing the author’s clever story to the cluttered page. The word clutter is meant as a compliment. The youngest reader will return again and again to see Mr. Tuggle’s world, from home to bus, to office, and back. The park bench scene will elicit shrieks. Each face in the ordinary places of Mr. Tuggle’s bus, at his bus stop, and on the elevator registers surprise and amazement at the discovery that there is nothing ordinary about Mr. Tuggle.

The last page rates belly laughs.

The talents of author and artist mesh perfectly for a picture book worthy of launching National Smile Week. Or any time the daily hustle becomes a hassle.

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