cover image The First Slodge

The First Slodge

Jeanne Willis, illus. by Jenni Desmond. Tiger Tales, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58925-169-4

Part quirky creation myth, part friendship fable, Willis’s (Chicken Clicking) story features two creatures who think they are singular in the world—until they find each other. After the “first Slodge in the universe” emerges (Desmond envisions the creature as a sort of primordial sea-green cousin to a gummy bear), she embraces all that she sees as her own: “She saw the first star. And the first moon. ‘My star, my moon,’ she said.” But when she discovers that a second Slodge has taken a bite of her fruit, a turf war begins (“And they fought the first fight”), and the two Slodges have a scare that pushes them to realize they are even better as a team. Desmond’s (Eric, the Boy Who Lost His Gravity) lumpy Slodges and other whimsical creations (a blue palmlike tree, a yellow serpentine Snawk) conjure a strange bygone world in its infancy—an inviting setting for readers to explore themes of friendship, sharing, and stewardship. “The world didn’t belong to anyone,” writes Willis. “It was there to share.” Ages 3–7. (Mar.)