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Review of The Snurtch

ferrell_snurchThe Snurtch
by Sean Ferrell; 
illus. by Charles Santoso
Preschool, Primary    Atheneum    40 pp.
8/16    978-1-4814-5656-2    $17.99    g
e-book ed.  978-1-4814-5657-9    $10.99

In this author-illustrator team’s (I Don’t Like Koala, rev. 3/15) second book, Ruthie, a wide-eyed, snub-nosed child with pigtail tufts that stick straight up, “has a problem at school.” And it’s a big one. Think imaginary friend meets Inside Out meets the old devil-made-me-do-it excuse, and voilà, you’ve got the Snurtch. Ruthie’s Snurtch is a not-too-scary monster with spiky red, orange, and yellow fur that calls to mind a fiery temper, and atop its head are two tiny tufts of hair that mimic Ruthie’s hairdo. Whenever she loses control of her emotions and acts out, the Snurtch is to blame, or so says Ruthie. And Ferrell’s text backs her up. It’s the Snurtch who is “grabby and burpy and rude.” Not Ruthie. It’s the Snurtch who’s “truly terrible.” Not Ruthie. Santoso’s illustrations, on the other hand, show quite a different story, but it’s one that Ruthie herself can’t see, at least not at first. Portrayed with humor and empathy, Ruthie’s challenges with regulating emotions and behavior will provoke plenty of discussion — even among the youngest of listeners.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Tanya D. Auger

Tanya D. Auger is a former middle school teacher with a master’s degree in learning and teaching from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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