The Wrench

Elise Gravel, trans. from the French by Charles Simard. Orca, $19.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4598-2449-2

Gravel (I Am Scary) pokes fun at consumer culture in this lighthearted if thin depiction of overconsumption. When Bob, a scrawny pink bespectacled bunny, loses a tricycle wheel one morning, his search for a wrench takes him to the local Megamart. Gravel’s hip, colorful scenes loudly emphasize the overwhelming explosion of products that Bob encounters. “Buy this!” a sign screams, and, prompted by a cowboy-like salesman with a knack for upselling, Bob does just that, over the course of several trips purchasing, not the wrench, but a fridge-hat, musical pajamas, and a screaming machine. As Bob returns home with these outlandish objects, his friends question their value, leveling up their confusion with every purchase: of the screaming machine, “Why did you buy this monstrosity?” Unfortunately for the tricycle, Bob’s shopping sprees have left him broke. Opening his closet in search of loose change unleashes an avalanche of stuff in which—buried beneath a Rubik’s cube, disguise glasses, and more—is the very wrench Bob needed all along. Has a lesson been learned by the seemingly helpless Bob? Gravel doesn’t say with this disappointingly abrupt ending, but surely cleaning up so much junk would make any bunny think twice. Ages 3–5. [em](Oct.) [/em]
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