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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Bad Mood and the Stick, written by Lemony Snicket and illustrated by Matthew Forsythe. Tundra, Random House. 2017. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"Curly picked  up the stick
and used it to poke her
"That's not nice,"
said her mother. "Apologize
to Napoleon, and throw the
stick in the bushes." Curly
had really enjoyed poking
her brother Napoleon - so
much that her bad mood
was gone."

I know you've been there. You start the day with joy in your heart, go about your day - then, BAM! Something or someone can turn your mood around, and send you into a tailspin. You will also know, having been there, that your response to whatever offends you can turn the tide for everyone else you meet that day. Your mood can affect others, and the rest of your own day. Bah, humbug!

When the stick on the ground and Curly with the bad mood meet, things begin to go from bad to worse. Curly is mad that her mother did not stop for ice cream. The stick is innocently lying there, having fallen from its parent tree before Curly walks past. Curly likes the look of it, and picks it up.

It is what she does with it that begins a chain reaction, punctuated by grumpiness for others. Too soon, her mother is carrying the bad mood and a very crabby countenance. The stick, totally innocent, is  picked up from the bushes by a raccoon. Using it, the raccoon scares Lou into falling into a mud puddle. That makes Curly's mom laugh - bad mood gone! Lou is the recipient. Covered in mud, and needing to be clean, he heads to the dry cleaner's and Mrs. Durham.

"Take that pencil outta your ear," said Lou.
"You gotta wash these pants and wash
them quick. I'll stand around here in
my underwear until you're done."

Lou is not going to be put off. There he stands. You might think that Lou is quick to pass his bad mood to Mrs. Durham. You would be wrong! I wonder what happens to it? And what about the stick?

 The twists and turns are not expected, and the humor and charm are sure to delight. Matthew Forsythe's artwork is done with gouache, colored ink and pencil. He uses a bright palette, lots of expression, and significant detail to enhance the telling and make it even funnier.

I promise ... you are going to love the surprise ending!

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