Saturday, March 3, 2012
Tom's Tweet, written by Jill Esbaum and illustrated by Dan Santat. Knopf, Random House. 2011. $18.99 ages 4 and up
he selected a wiggler
It is not what a cat is put on this earth to do. Tom knows it, but how can he leave that tiny tweet, with worms galore and no way to eat them? He does what he has to do, although it makes his eyes bug out and his cheeks turn green and puffy.
You could read it without sharing the brilliant artwork that Dan Santat has created for this hilarious tale of Tom and his tiny tweet (I do that at times to illustrate to children that the 'best' picture books need both words and art). In doing so, you would miss much of the fun that is there to be experienced, and then savored for days to come.
It starts innocently. Tom is on the prowl for food when he spots a nestling in the grass. As he stealthily approaches, he makes the discovery that it is so skinny it would not make for a pleasurable meal. Top that off with the knowledge that the tweet is terrified and alone. There is nothing to do but face the wrath of the maniacal mama bird and attempt to take it back home.
It takes caution and endless patience, and many attempts at mothering to keep the bird fed, and healthy. Finally, Mama Bird leaves the nest in search of food for her other babies and Tom makes the tree trek to return his tweet to safety:
"That night, as he slumbered,
Tom dreamed of the tweet?
Was he nuts? How completely absurd!
Yes, as hard as it was for a cat to admit,
he was missing that bothersome bird."
The rhythm of the words carries this entertaining romp to a satisfying end, full of humor and heart.
The lively artwork gives us characters to love and appreciate. The story will hold listeners attention through repeated readings. I love this book!