cover image On Account of the Gum

On Account of the Gum

Adam Rex. Chronicle, $17.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8154-7

Snappy second-person verse (“That’s the gum./ Right there./ That you got in your hair”) enumerates a family’s vain efforts to remove a blob of shocking pink bubblegum as Rex (Unstoppable) dreams up ever-grosser remedies for the hairy dilemma. The victim is an adorable mop-headed child who falls asleep while blowing gum bubbles in bed, and subsequently glowers as hands reach in to sprinkle and smear it away. First met with scissors and two sticks of butter, the child’s curls pile high as an aunt in a golf visor contributes grass cuttings, and “Your grandpa,/ who said that your/ aunt was mistaken,/ is mostly to blame/ for the noodles and bacon.” Pets (a rabbit to nibble the grass, a cat to frighten the rabbit) and even appliances follow, racking up a pile on the kid’s gummy pate. Rex’s digital portraits of the child employ a feathery, pastel effect, a surprisingly soft counterpoint to the frenetic action offered by comically exaggerated adults. Though the ending sails off a cliff abruptly, those who are in it for the laughs won’t care. Ages 5–8. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) [/em]