cover image Bud


Kevin O'Malley. Walker & Company, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-8718-7

Boy-rhino Bud Sweet-William really digs dirt. This aptly named young gardener precociously prunes the plastic ficus tree and saves scraps from the dinner table for his compost pile. His mother and father favor spotless suits and ""clip, spray, and mow the lawn in perfectly straight lines."" They look askance at their disorderly son, and worry that Bud's persnickety grandfather will disapprove of such an untidy hobby. Their fears come to naught, however. Grandfather Sweet-William confides to his grandson, ""Your grandmother used to grow roses just like this."" With this offhand comment, O'Malley (Leo Cockroach... Toy Tester) subtly implies that Bud's roots are the source of his habit. The author pictures Bud as an agreeable fellow who quietly defies his neat-freak elders and brings the family closer. Yet the book itself, which balances straight lines of earthy-brown typeface and neatly squared-off voice bubbles, maintains its reserve even when the Sweet-Williams lose their inhibitions. A uplifting trot down the garden path. Ages 5-8. (Mar.)