cover image My Thumb

My Thumb

Karen Hesse, illus. by Rich Deas. Feiwel and Friends, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-312-67120-4

Hesse’s redheaded narrator begins and ends this book as an unrepentant thumb sucker, but it’s her very intransigence that makes this tribute to the First Digit so refreshing. Even if there are hints that she won’t be a thumb sucker forever (“You make it hard to run,/ and beat a drum,/ and eat a plum”), this is a girl who knows what she wants. “There’s nothing mum could say or do/ to break the bond between us two,” Hesse (Spuds) writes. “It’s like there is some kind of glue,/ that no one, nothing, can undo.” Deas (Cock-a-Doodle Dance!) generally contributes literal interpretations of the rhymes, but he has some standout moments: in one, the narrator assumes the no-nonsense demeanor of a teacher and, with the help of a pointer and chalkboard, explains that she has already outgrown baby bottles, pacifiers, diapers, and nose-picking. For the most part, this is Hesse’s language-fest, and she doesn’t disappoint, ending the story with a string of rhymes that gamely employs kung fu, Peru, déjà vu, snafu, and IQ. Ages 2–4. (July)