Thingamabob

Marianna Coppo, trans. from the Italian by Debbie Bibo. Tundra, $18.99 (44p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6579-0

Coppo (Ray) chooses a challenging protagonist to bring to life: an orange blob, the only indeterminate bit left after everything else in the cosmos is created. “In the beginning, the universe was one great big thing,” she begins, showing a large orange mass, and then a moment in which the stuff explodes “into gobs and gobs of thingamabobs,” forming objects such as whales and Rubik’s cubes and DNA and a marble—all except for a leftover thingamabob, which becomes an object of pity (“You poor thing” “What is it?” “No idea!”). Thingamabob proves unsuited to everything it tries. It can’t be ice cream, a hat, or a kite (the other kites soar, but Thingamabob lies flat on the ground). Fortunately, Thingamabob soon encounters a pale-skinned child, to whom it can be both useful and a good friend. Coppo succeeds in guiding readers into the titular character’s interiority, making it possible to relate its failures to their own and resulting in a piquant and poignant adventure. Ages 3–7. (Jan.)
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