When a creature is made from icky, sticky sludge--and gets that sludge all over everyone--how can he ever make friends? Gnarbunga pops up from a mucky hole in the ground, and he's very, very messy. The children love it, but the grownups don't. So the kids decide to help Gnarbunga find something to do to keep him busy...and what could be better than skateboarding! A fresh and lively young picture book with a fun story and exuberant illustrations.
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Matthew Bromley studied graphic design and illustration at the University of Hertfordshire and went on to win Best in Show at the D&AD New Blood 2010.
PreS-K-Gnarbunga is a friendly, black sludgy creature that emerges from a "mucky, messy hole in the ground." Drawn as a wobbly inkblot with google eyes, he has sharp teeth but a winning smile. As he makes his slimy way through the neighborhood, he is popular with children, who delight in rolling in the tar that he spreads. However, "some people" (i. e., adults) "were not so happy to get icky." The children push Gnarbunga to find a hobby to channel his energy more productively, and he chooses skateboarding. The language of the text is extremely simple throughout until the skateboarding section, which has slangy terms such as "boneless" or "invert." Drawn digitally, the illustrations use solid blocks of three striking colors: black, lavender, and mustard yellow. Despite the lack of detail, the characters emote powerfully, and children will laugh out loud at expressions of outrage from people soaked in tar. Gnarbunga is equally expressive. In his more rebellious moments, he seems wonderfully wicked. Without being preachy, Bromley encourages youth to direct their wild energy in a disciplined way. He methodically details the necessary skateboard safety equipment, such as kneepads. Children will cheer for Gnarbunga and want to hear this story over and over again.-Jess deCourcy Hinds Bard High School Early College Queens, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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