Barnacle Is Bored
In a mischievous skit of a story, Geisel Award Honoree Fenske (A Pig, a Fox, and a Box
) introduces a dyspeptic barnacle for whom the sea grass is always greener—until it isn’t. Affixed to the underside of a dock, Barnacle has an existence that’s low on mobility and big on routine. “Every day is the same,” he groans. “The tide comes in.
I am wet
The tide goes out.
I am dry
.” Fenske gives Barnacle pale limbs that dangle in the water like idle fingers and a range of grimaces and half-lidded glares. After a dopey-looking yellow fish shows up, it triggers a series of jealous imaginings (“I bet he dives
with dolphins. I bet he soars
with sailfish”) that abruptly ends with the arrival of a hungry eel—it turns out that being bored beats being lunch. From narration that consists entirely of Barnacle’s mopey monologue to a dockside environment defined by creamy blue water, a bit of sand, and a couple planks, Fenske keeps it simple, deploying his closing jokes with confident comic timing. Ages 3–5. Agent: Carrie Hannigan, Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency. (May)