Billy's love affair with dirt creates the perfect climate for a plant to sprout in his navel: "And under that dirt, that muck, grime, and grout-/The tiniest seed had started to sprout." This cautionary tale, reminiscent of "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's" radish cure, continues in labored rhyme. "Although the problem clearly had shocked her/His mother just said, 'Let' s go see a doctor!'" Finally, a landscaper gets to the root of the matter and provides the obvious coda: "You've got a great gift, son, for growing things green,/But your navel is one place you've got to keep clean." Humorous cartoons in pencil and gouache can't save a book that deserves to be weeded before it is purchased.
Kathleen Whalin, Greenwich Country Day School, CT
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