Prather’s Pick: A funny picture book

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The two characters in this week’s picture book for kids are about as different as can be — a tiny mole and a great big “Lumpy-Bumpy Thing” (a crocodile, I think, though I suppose it could be an alligator).

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Diane Prather

“Dangerous” was written and illustrated by Tim Warnes who illustrated the Little Tiger Books. The book is published by Little Tiger Press (2014).

The reader finds the “Lumpy-Bumpy Thing’s” tail as soon as the book is opened. It’s a long, pointed tail that’s covered with a bunch of bumpy scales. And then the reader finds the crocodile as it peers out of the water. Its eyes are focused on a little mole who is walking around through the forest with a pencil and a bunch of cards or papers.

Mole, dressed in a red and white-striped outfit, likes to label things — all kinds of things, living and nonliving. The forest looks more like a museum with all of the labels. And boy, does that mole know a lot of words! You wouldn’t think that he’d be able to identify a rhododendron, foxglove, sapling, lichen or caterpillar (that has started to eat the label). A frog looks somewhat startled to be wearing a label across his chest. Pine, anthill, pebble (label upside down), feather and even poop are labeled and everything else in mole’s path.

And then one day, the mole comes across something unusual and big and bumpy. He has no idea what this strange thing is, but he pokes it a little and then starts to put labels on it. Pretty soon he has put more than 30 labels on one side, which include words like gargantuan, wrinkly, pokey, slimy, scratchy and knobbly. The crocodile looks as if he’s cut himself all over while shaving and covered the cuts with bandages.

Suddenly the crocodile yawns. There are plenty of teeth in that long mouth. The mole is terrified, but the “Lumpy-Bumpy Thing” just rolls over and goes back to sleep. Mole thinks that somebody might get hurt so he prints “Dangerous” on one of his cards and attaches it to the crocodile’s chest.

But the crocodile has been watching mole. He sits up and licks his lips. With his “snippy-snappy” teeth he starts to eat the labels. Crocodile looks puzzled when mole stomps off. After that, the crocodile goes everywhere mole goes, and that doesn’t set well with mole because the “Lumpy-Bumpy Thing” gobbles up all the labels.

The crocodile doesn’t mean any harm. He wants to play. He even offers the mole some flowers (with the label attached). Then he lets out one huge burp. Mole loses it and yells at the Lumpy-Bumpy Thing. What happens next is unexpected and heartwarming.

This is a funny but sweet book. Besides that, children may learn some new words, thanks to mole.

Author/illustrator Tim Warnes lives in England.

“Dangerous!” costs $16.99 in hardcover. The book can also be found in the children’s room at the Craig/Moffat County Library.

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