cover image The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum

The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum

Deborah Blumenthal. Clarion Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-68699-7

Blumenthal evokes the all-out, single-minded hysteria of a child's tantrum in this minor first book. On a routine walk home from the park, Sophie becomes transfixed by a delectable-looking chocolate-covered cookie in the hand of another toddler. When her mother can't produce one, Sophie's demand escalates in urgency: "" `I WANT ONE!' she yelled, shaking her head from side to side, banging her feet on the ground. `I WANT A COOKIE! I WANT A COOKIE!' "" (The tantrum-verite prose occupies no less than seven spreads). Stevenson's (The Tangerine Tree) illustrations become more surreal as Sophie's tantrum snowballs: in one picture, pairs of violently kicking legs surround an angry red chili pepper face. When her frenzy suddenly abates, the pictures show tranquil scenes of wide lawns with leafy shadows. Even well-mannered children are likely to recognize Sophie's scene-making screaming, and the example of her nonjudgmental, unflappable mother (who surprises Sophie with a cookie after a nap and dinner) may hearten weary parents. Those weary parents will probably enjoy reading this story aloud, too--Blumenthal's one-note joke will let them rant and rave to their heart's content. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)