Thursday, January 11, 2018
Read the Book, Lemmings. Written by Ame Dyckman and illustrated by Zachariah OHora. Little Brown and Company, Hachette. 2017. $23.49 ages 4 and up
asked. "May I borrow
your bucket?" "Fine,"
said Captain PB. "But
your lemmings better
not eat my fish."
Foxy gave his lemmings
names - and hats - so
he could scold them ... "
Foxy obviously loves learning. He is reading Everything About Lemmings, and is fascinated to know that lemmings don't jump off cliffs. As he reads that particular tidbit to his captain, three lemmings hear what they want to hear ... 'jump off'! Overboard they go. Foxy saves them from a freezing watery fate, and gives them a lecture about themselves. They, once again, ignore his counsel and jump off the S.S Cliff! Obviously, they have not read the book. When the jumping happens again and again, with no regard for the danger it evokes, Foxy sets about making amends for their lack of reading skills. A full afternoon's practice teaches them needed literacy lessons; the jumping overboard stops. Will knowing how to read information about themselves affect the choices they make? I think you know the answer to that.
In this, their third hilarious book together, Ms. Dyckman and Mr. OHora create another perfect book to read aloud. Listeners will beg to hear it again, and it will not lose its appeal even after repeated readings. They will still be chuckling!
There is so much crazy comedy in both words and illustrations. Our first indication is a sign stuck on an iceberg prior to the title page:
"lemmings: small, furry
illiterate rodents who share the
icy North with arctic foxes and
polar bears. People used to think
lemmings jumped off cliffs.
Now we know they don't."
A boat that is a whale, the boat's name is S.S. Cliff, Captain PB is a polar bear who loves fishing and reading the newspaper, his first mate is an arctic fox with a penchant for protection, and the three lemmings are named Jumper, Me Too and Ditto. Geronimo is the lemmings' mantra as they constantly find their way over the side of the ship. The spreads, sporting bold colors, appealing characters, and constant action are a perfect match to the fun the words inspire. The surprise ending is just right!
Even the author's note is full of fun:
"When I was little, I saw a movie that showed lemmings
jumping off cliffs. Years later, I learned that, except is very
rare cases, lemmings DON'T jump off cliffs. My first thought
was, "OH. NO! DID ANYONE TELL THE LEMMINGS?!"
So, we made this book. You're welcome, lemmings."
Too funny by far!