Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Book Review: Argus, by Michelle Knudsen, illustrated by Andrea Wesson

With Baby L. arriving soon, there has been much discussion about what he may look like ("Doctor, what are these two little bumps on his head?") We are all having trouble picturing him...I see dark hair and eyes, while Daddy sees a male version of S. Of course, we were both so totally WRONG about S., our brains are reluctant to come up with any firm images. Parents often find that they have spent nine months dreaming up different color combinations and personality types, only to be presented with something that makes them think constantly over the next decades, "Where on EARTH did you come from?"

Sally's class is hatching eggs. When she points out to her teacher that hers looks a bit different, she is told some eggs are just different, and don't be difficult. As we can see by the cover, Sally's chick ends up looking a bit different, too. He also acts a bit differently. Whereas most of the chicks peck lightly at the ground, Argus makes big holes. When they eat seeds and bugs, he prefers to eat...the other chicks. And the children.

At first Sally isn't crazy about having a chick so different from the rest, but when a crisis arises, discovers she is quite happy with Argus just the way he is. Not an unexpected message, but done with a light hand and plenty of humor (love the teacher's final comment). Wesson's illustrations are perfectly paired with Knudsen's text. I may just have found one of Baby L.'s first books. (Knudsen, btw, also wrote Library Lion, another one of our absolute favorites!)

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