Friday, May 11, 2018

Different Strokes: Morris Mole by Dan Yaccarino

One day, Morris' biggest brother announced, "We've run out of food!"

"Then we must dig even FURTHER!" his second biggest brother declared. The rest of the brothers agreed.

Except for Morris. "I have an IDEA!" he said.

Little Morris, nattily attired in a suit, bow tie, and fedora, is not like his sturdy, hard-hatted brothers. He figures that if what you've been doing isn't working, doing more of it may not be the way to go.

While the burly brothers dig down deeper, Morris screws up his courage and decides to try digging up.

It's a breakthrough!

Above ground, Morris discovers flowers, sunshine, birds--and plenty of food!

He had never smelled anything so sweet, or felt so at peace!

And then he tasted what he thought was a particularly beautiful blackberry.

OOPS. Short-sighted Morris has chomped down on the nose of a fox. But before the fox can chomp down on him, a wolf appears with intentions of doing the same to the fox.

"Hey, pipsqueak!" growled the wolf.

Thinking fast, Morris shoves the fox down into his tunnel and feigns total ignorance of the fox's whereabouts. Morris's help wins over the fox, and when the wolf moves on, he helps Morris gather some mole-pleasing foods and drop them down his tunnel to land right in the mole family's larder, where his empty-handed big brothers finally have some respect for Morris' offbeat ideas.

Dan Yaccarino's Morris Mole (Harper, 2017) is a jolly story of the little mole who could, the oddball little brother who at last wins his right to speak up. It's a popular premise (especially with younger siblings), and Yaccarino's charming illustrations, setting off the contrast between Morris and his husky brothers and below and above ground, almost tell the story apart from the text. Says Publishers Weekly, "Yaccarino’s crisp, retro graphics exude energy and humor while emphasizing the rewards that can come with trusting one’s instincts."

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