cover image Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer

Mr. Nogginbody Gets a Hammer

David Shannon. Norton, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-324-00344-1

Mr. Nogginbody is a jauntier and more surreal version of Humpty Dumpty: his bowler hat, collar, and tie are stacked together at the top of his ovoid body, above his marvelously expressive face. Thrilled to discover that a hammer can fix a nail that’s popped up from his floor, he starts seeing nails everywhere (some readers may recognize the classic law of the instrument at work), and it’s hammer time all the time for objects that even slightly resemble nails. Pulverizing a lamp’s turn knob, a showerhead, a flower, and all the pieces of a chess game in the park, he joyously declares “Done!” “Much better!” and “Fixed it!” (or “Flggst bit!” when the now-broken shower erupts on his face). Just when he’s ready to whack his own noggin—a wonderful moment of comic suspense—an epiphany arrives: “Maybe I can’t fix everything with a hammer. Because not everything is a nail!” Drawn and hand-lettered in rich black ink and punctuated by washes of bright color, Shannon’s latest has the timeless exuberance and psychological profundity of a great comedy. In short: nailed it. Ages 3–5. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.) [/em]