A Busy Creature's Day Eating: An Alphabetical Smorgasbord

The ABCs have never been so dramatic! In Mo Willems's A Busy Creature's Day Eating: An Alphabetical Smorgasbord, a creature who looks suspiciously like a preschooler (except for the long tail, purple skin and orange eyes) devours everything in sight. Starting with innocuous apples, berries and cereal, the creature quickly moves on to doughnuts, eggs and... furniture? The "Huge Hot-Sauce Halibut Hoagie" seems particularly delicious, but the lunchbox, mayonnaise and napkin may be what tips the hungry omnivore over the digestive edge. A kindly cube-headed father figure, who is nowhere to be seen when the creature is eating jackets and kilts, shows up to offer soothing rice, saltines and tea, plus plenty of kisses and hugs ("XO-XO-XO!").

Readers of all ages will laugh and groan at the edible, alphabetical exploits of the busy creature, whose eyes are definitely bigger than its stomach, empathizing when it reaches the latter half of the alphabet, which includes such words as "potty," "queasy" and "UGH!" Willems's mostly single-word-per-page narrative is surprisingly eloquent, with the exuberant purple protagonist conveying a thousand words in every facial expression. Keen-eyed readers might catch a few glimpses of characters from Willems's other series in the background: Elephant and Piggie (from I Will Take a Nap! and Waiting Is Not Easy!, the bunny from Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too and the pigeon from Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? As with all his books, Willems gets right to the heart (or, in this case, belly) of a kid's day-to-day life with humor and perfect understanding. --Emilie Coulter, freelance writer and editor

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