Big Words Small Stories: The Traveling Dustball
Written by Judith Henderson, illustrated by T. L. McBeth
Kids Can Press
To be published 02 April 2019
ARC provided by NetGalley
The second collection in the Big Words Small Stories series follows the adventures of Davey and his dog, Abigail. When Davey tries to sweep an enormous dustball out the front door, the wind lifts the dustball into the air — and Davey and Abigail with it! Their flying dustball takes them on adventures to places around the world, including Italy, China and Switzerland, which makes for some great stories (five, to be exact)! As with the first book in the series, the mischievous Sprinkle Fairy and her helpers have slipped a Big Word into each story. The stories include Big Words like lollygagging, irksome and phenomenon! What kid could resist trying those out?! Told through Judith Henderson’s hilarious dialogue and T.L. McBeth’s fun illustrations, these stories are highly accessible and simple to read. Add that to the stories’ mix of deadpan and slapstick humor, and you’ve got a pitch-perfect book for emerging readers that’s both entertaining and enriching. The Big Words included — with a kid-friendly pronunciation and definition for each — help young readers to build their vocabularies. For a bonus at the end of the book, a “Small Play on Big Words” uses all the Big Words together.
It is true that you learn something new every day…this marvelous collection of short stories by Judith Henderson taught me the word “collywobbles”. In all my life, I have never heard that word, so thank you!
All of the stories involve Davey and his dog, Abigail (who I think is Garfield in disguise). Everyone knows that the Sprinkle Fairy lives in Sicily and loves to sprinkle big words into conversations and writing. With some help from a magic dust bunny, Davey and Abigail travel all over the world and discover big words left there by the Sprinkle Fairy.
The giant dust bunny was irksome to Abigail at first, but she enjoyed their trips by the end. In Italy, the dust bunny caused quite a brouhaha that was obviously solved with spaghetti and meatballs. Then they enjoyed a day of lollygagging in Hawaii until Abigail got a case of the collywobbles (upset stomach), so Davey went to China for some cloud tea. When Abigail was feeling better, they helped create a new phenomenon in Switzerland involving chocolate and stinky cheese.
Henderson finishes the collection with a play put on by the Sprinklers (the Sprinkle Fairy’s helpers). McBeth’s illustrations are perfect complements to the story and make the words come alive. My personal favorite story was Stinky Cheese because it promotes trying new things and not judging on first impressions.
Fantastic book for any young reader.
Overall rating: ♥♥♥♥♥