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The luck of the Loch Ness monster : a tale of picky eating

by A.W. Flaherty


Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780618556441]

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Publishers Weekly :

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Mark Twain would have approved of this tall tale, which posits that the Loch Ness monster began life as a tiny sea worm... no longer than your thumbnail. Luckily for the worm, an American girl named Katerina-Elizabeth travels to Scotland on an ocean liner in 1925. Katerina-Elizabeth found, sadly, that her parents had ordered oatmeal for her every day, and she prefers other provisions. Under the baleful eye of a Charles Addams–ish waitress, the picky girl jettisons bowls of oatmeal into the sea, and the worm enjoys many hearty breakfasts. Magoon (Hugo and Miles in I've Painted Everything!) renders these scenes in a '20s palette of sepia brown, murky gray and briny green, showing the worm becoming a large, snakelike creature that ripples alongside the ship. At the destination, Loch Ness, the monster-to-be misses Katerina-Elizabeth but gets a pleasant surprise: All along the lake the next morning, the worm heard the plop of oatmeal being hurled by children out the windows of their thatched cottages. (Just wait 'til the tourists try haggis.) A neurologist, Flaherty (The Midnight Disease) spins her debut children's yarn in a deadpan voice that gives added oomph to her hyperbole (Nessie grows as long as the main hall of an elementary school). Her wry tone and Magoon's droll watercolors lend unexpected charm to the mystery monster, so fond of good nutrition and so helpful to finicky eaters. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)

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Syndetic Solutions - [Book Review for 9780618556441]

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School Library Journal :

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K-Gr 2—Marbled endpapers paired with sepia-tinted illustrations help to create an old-fashioned setting for this timeless tale that is set in the days when people wore greatcoats and hats and traveled on ocean liners. A girl is traveling alone to visit her grandmother in Scotland. Trouble arises when she tosses her dreaded morning oatmeal overboard, only to attract the attention of a tiny sea worm that gobbles it up and immediately quadruples in size. With endless meals of oatmeal tossed overboard, the creature grows larger and larger as does its friendship with the child. Once the ship arrives in Scotland, it proceeds up the River Ness. This pourquoi tale about how the Loch Ness Monster came to be has a lot of imagination and wonderful storytelling techniques. Dark, cartoonlike watercolors exhibit an excellent use of perspective. The simple, yet quirky narrative is nicely paired with a clever and creative layout. A folksy tale that should enjoy broad appeal.—Judy Chichinski, Skyline Elementary School, Tacoma, WA

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BookList :

From BookList, October 1, 2007, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

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Who would guess that the explanation for the Loch Ness monster involves oatmeal? Read on. When Katerina-Elizabeth's parents send her off on an ocean liner to visit her grandmother in Scotland, they plan her meals in advance; breakfast is always oatmeal, her least favorite food. The first day out, the girl tossses breakfast overboard; a sea worm gobbles it up. Every day, the same thing happens, and the worm grows larger and larger. When the boat reaches Scotland, the worm continues up the river to Loch Ness, searching for its favorite treat. When a Scottish miss calls the sea worm a monster, the worm looks at itself; it's now "thick as an elephant's belly" and long as the hall of an elementary school-just the sort of critter that tourists love to see. Comic illustrations, colored in a murky, sepia palette and created in "pen and digital color," give the book an appropriately period look, and Magoon makes great use of sly expressions on characters and monster alike. Picky eaters will love the premise and the oatmeal revolt. Cummins, Julie.

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