Wild Thing! Petunia Goes Wild by Paul Schmid
BEING HUMAN WAS JUST...
TOO... CLEAN. TOO CAREFUL.
TOO CLOTHED. TOO COMBED.
TOO QUIET. TOO...HAFTA!
Preschooler Petunia knows that she was meant to be a wild animal. She's had it with scratchy clothes, hairdos, and too much... order. It's time for a walk on the wild side for our girl!
On Monday morning Petunia issues her manifesto. She eats her breakfast from the floor, runs around outside, roaring at anyone or anything who goes by. She rolls around in a mud puddle--without benefit of swimsuit! She declares that she is her parents' pet and even offers them a collar and leash for her. Her parents have a meltdown. They have no intentions of trading their daughter for a pet Petunia!
"NO! YOU MAY NOT!
THAT IS NOT HOW A NICE LITTLE GIRL BEHAVES!
Petunia is sent to the corner to think about why humans have rules, and as she peers through the bars on the back of the kitchen chair, she has a wild idea.
Carefully she sneaks off to find a marker and gathers all the postage stamps she can find. Petunia prints an address on the outside of a large, comfortable box.
MAIL TO AFRICA.
Petunia crawls inside her mailer and waits to be transported to where the wild things are. It's a long wait.
Then Petunia hears her mother singing softly and suspects that she's making cookies in the kitchen. Hmmmm!
"TIGERS DON'T SING," THOUGHT PETUNIA.
Life on the wild side requires a bit of re-thinking in Paul Schmid's latest, Petunia Goes Wild (Harper, 2012). Illustrated in Schmid's evocative but minimalist style, Petunia, wearing her trademark lavender-striped dress with safety-pinned tiger tail (when she's not wearing mud), is a character most kids will understand, one who tires of all the rules no matter how many good reasons there are for them. Schmid and his character come to a comfortable compromise, with Petunia's big escape box carefully put away in her room for future need, while she decides to accept the perks--including fresh cookies and a tickle and hug at bedtime--of being a nice little girl--for the moment.
Schmid's other noted picture books include A Pet for Petunia and Hugs from Pearl (see my review here.)