Sunday, June 26, 2011
Richard Was A Picker, written by Carolyn Beck and illustrated by Ben Hodson. Orca Book Publishers, 2010. $19.95 ages 5 and up
"He'd stick his finger
up his snout
and prod and pry
and scoop things out.
He stretched the gooey
slimy strings into loops
and swingy things."
EWWW! GROSS! You can just hear it from all those kids who love any book that makes adults cringe. Take Richard, for instance....please! How can kids love a guy who picks his nose and creates 'castles, farms and zoos' from his ooze? Well, if you know kids, you know that is exactly what will happen. In the hilarious words from Carolyn Beck's pen and the grossly exaggerated images from Ben Hodson's acrylic paints and colored pencils, you will find yourself reading a funny, mucilaginous story to overattentive young listeners. Everything that you, as an adult, find abhorrent, they will find hilarious and heartwarming.
Richard has a passion for picking which most people find disgusting. When his finger actually becomes stuck up his nose he is concerned, and then:
"Shoulders, chest, knees and toes -
the rest of Richard slid up his nose."
Once he turns into a ball of 'gook' and starts rolling, Richard picks up most things in his path.:
"He picked up six cats, five crows, one mouse,
an unsuspecting dog sleeping in his house,
a wagon, a frog, two babies in a pool
and old Mrs. Rappertaffy knitting on her stool.
Neighbors yelled. Neighbors ran.
Richard kept on rolling.
He had a plan!"
The story moves quickly and rhythmically from start to finish. Even adults will giggle at some of the antics; kids will find them grossly delightful! The artwork is a perfect accompaniment to the text, showing green boogers in all their glory as they vandalize the town and its people. With the final denouement, listeners will see that Richard has learned a lesson, while everyone else must deal with the aftermath of that learning. .