Barnacle Is Bored

Jonathan Fenske. Scholastic Press, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-86504-3
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 and cold. The tide goes out. I am dry and hot.” 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)
Reviewed on: 03/07/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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