cover image Noodle & Lou

Noodle & Lou

Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Arthur Howard, S&S/Beach Lane, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0288-1

Noodle the worm wakes up "with a rain-cloudy heart," and it's not until he gets a pep talk from his blue jay friend, Lou, that he gives "his sorry old slither/ a jaunty new strut." In sturdy yet none-too-formal couplets with an unfaltering rhythm and gentle humor, Scanlon (All the World) offers a point-by-point repudiation of each of Noodle's complaints. " ‘My head has no eyes,'/ Noodle said, feeling glum./ ‘So, life's a surprise!'/ Lou said to his chum." Smartly sidestepping the whole "no eyes" issue by depicting Noodle with a baseball cap slung low over his head, Howard (Mr. Putter and Tabby) adds several dashes of visual humor to the story (the worms live in the mud of "Wiggly Field," and assorted bugs and birds zip across the pages). His loose watercolors underscore the idea that—in a meadow this picturesque and with a pal like Lou—Noodle has it pretty good. While some sticklers may question why Lou considers Noodle a best bud, rather than an appetizer, they'll easily recognize the value of such a supportive relationship. Ages 2–6. (Mar.)