It’s time once again to feature a book, for Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, that rocks my picture book world. To my friends who are not picture book lovers, please be patient with me. I promise I’ll post something else soon—something to do with Burger King Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (BK PTSD), an illness that both I and Mike Allegra (HeyLookAWriterFellow) suffer from. Stay tuned for that one…
As part of ReFoReMo (reading for research month), I’ve been reading more than five picture books a day. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve read some doozies. This one is just plain fun while introducing kids to new words. So here we go: it’s all about Dirty Gert!
You know you’re in for a wild ride when three worms on the title page say:
“When is she coming out to play?”
“I don’t know.”
“Soon, I hope.”
The first page sets the scene:
“Little Gert loved eating dirt.
The worms all idolized her.”
What’s that you say? Did the author use the word “idolized”? Why yes, he did. He also uses forms of the words internalize, tantalize, energize, supervise, civilize, moisturize, appetize, reorganize, photosynthesize, recognize, sanitize, deodorize, televise, legalize, analyze, immortalize, traumatize, jeopardize, and fertilize. AND as you might suspect from this list, the story is written in rhyme. Kudos!
I love it when an author takes such a bold stance and uses so many $3 words in a picture book. The illustrations suit the text perfectly, providing lots of help for understanding the full meaning of those crazy words.
We follow the adventures of Little Gert who happily eats so much dirt, she becomes rooted in the soil and begins to sprout. The worms provide a running commentary while Little Gert goes from an anonymous dirt-eating toddler to an overnight sensation.
And the ending? I can’t give it away. It, too, is perfect.
The jacket copy says: “Dirty Gert celebrates individuality and unconditional love.” I’d also say that it celebrates playful language, ridiculous situations, and dirt-eating toddlers around the world.
The author, Tedd Arnold, has won an Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel and has two Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Books. I’m going to take a look at his other work. Enjoy!
Title: Dirty Gert
Author/Illustrator: Tedd Arnold
Publisher: Holiday House
Pub date: 2013