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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Brief Thief, written by Michael Escoffier and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2013. $20.95 ages 3 and up

"They might belong to someone...
But who would come all
the way up here?

And anyway, they're
full of holes.
Leon finishes his business.

Then he throws
the underpants into the bushes
and goes back to his rock."

Leon has caught and eaten his morning 'fly; then nature calls, and he must answer. Once done his business, he cannot find suitable material to wipe his bottom. Leaves and grass are too prickly and messy; what about the underwear that is hanging nearby. Who would leave their briefs (holey ones, at that) hanging on a tree, if they really wanted them? It seems an invitation for a chameleon under stress. He uses them, then tosses them in the nearby bushes.

Done and done, right? You would be remiss to think so. As he strides away, he is cautioned by a faceless voice. The voice explains:

"I'm the little voice
you hear inside your head
whenever you get up
to something naughty."

A conversation ensues, Leon assuring his conscience that he has done nothing wrong...except for the underpants. Leon makes his excuses, and is told in no uncertain terms that he might, in fact, have caused distress for the owner:

"Or that maybe, just maybe, he had washed them
and gone off for a walk in the woods,
while they were hanging out in the sun to dry?'

Oh boy, could his conscience be right? Just in case, he takes direction from 'the voice', and leaves the underwear clean and exactly where he found it.

You, and your listeners, will howl when you learn the source of the voice and the reason for the 'holey' briefs. I guarantee it!

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