The Ballymara Flood: Written by Chad Stuart; Illustrated by George Booth

Chad Stuart, Author, George Booth, Illustrator
Chad Stuart, Author, George Booth, Illustrator Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $15 (40p) ISBN 978-0-15-205698-8
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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With the toe-tapping rhythm and good humor of an Irish jig, this original ballad tells the silly story of a boy whose bathtub overflows and floods the imaginary town of Ballymara. Neither the mayor, the admiral nor the corps of engineers can figure out what to do until, ""higgledy piggledy hi-de-ho,"" the boy dives down into the bathroom with a wrench, turns the faucets off, and ends up getting a medal ""to commemorate the day/ When all of Ballymara town/ Was nearly washed away."" Stuart, half of the singing duo Chad and Jeremy and a first-time author, and New Yorker cartoonist Booth (Possum Come A-Knockin') fill the town with wacky and inept bureaucrats who enact one slapstick scene after another: the fire brigade crashes into a baker's van; so many soldiers and sailors come to rescue the townspeople that they block the country lanes. The solution seems a little contrived-a simple turn of the wrench would have worked equally well at the beginning of the story as at the end-but Stuart acknowledges this himself: ""It's strange he was the only one/ Who thought of what to do."" The illustrations are so droll and the sing-song text so comical that they will keep the audience laughing right down to the last drop. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
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