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Fred Blunt has been a compulsive doodler since he was in hand-me-downs. Fred lives in Swindon, UK, with his wife and two children. Fred Blunt has been a compulsive doodler since he was in hand-me-downs. Fred lives in Swindon, UK, with his wife and two children.


Fans of Jon Klassen's more naturalistic outings will best appreciate the just desserts a surly gnome receives here. Sporting a fierce scowl in Blunt's loosely brushed cartoons, Mr. Gnome first gives viewers the brush-off ('Say hello to the readers, Mr. Gnome. No.') and then sits down at a pond to fish, shooing off a toad and brusquely refusing to help a passing hedgehog get rid of the apple stuck to its quills. That bad attitude comes back to bite, however, when he rudely ignores a witch's polite request to move along because he's scaring her toads. ZAP! 'Oh dear, ' as the unctuous narrator puts it, 'Mr. Gnome has been turned to stone.' Worse yet, the witch proceeds to add him to a large collection of similarly fossilized mini-grumps--all of whom she offers for sale, hand-painted with big smiles on their faces. The episode thus serves up not only a cautionary lesson about the importance of good manners but also insight into the origins of a common garden ornament. Double the value!--Booklist

-- "Journal" (2/15/2020 12:00:00 AM)

Mr. Gnome likes to say, 'No!' The bearded little tyrant wants to be alone on his fishing excursion. 'Say hello to the readers, Mr. Gnome, ' prompts the all-knowing narrator, whose delivery is reminiscent of mid-20th-century Disney documentaries. Mr. Gnome would rather not. Will he help out Mr. Hedgehog, who's got an apple wedged on his spines? 'NO.' The narrator politely asks Mr. Gnome if he likes juicy red apples, perhaps enough to assist Mr. Hedgehog. Doesn't he? 'NO NO NO!' It's no use . . . but here comes Miss Witch. Respectfully, she asks Mr. Gnome if he can stop scaring her toads with his fishing. The rude, pint-size angler, of course, refuses in the most disagreeable manner possible. 'Mr. Gnome might be making a big mistake . . .' observes the narrator. ZAP! Uh-oh, Mr. Gnome. It's time to join Miss Witch's stone gnome collection. A wickedly devious, humorous cautionary tale, Blunt's latest reminds readers that a little politeness just might save them from a rocky fate. The inclusion of the intrusive narrator--amid a cast of fantastical characters--lends a touch of whimsy to the whole ordeal, masking Mr. Gnome's rather grim fate behind a veneer of didactic friendliness. The artist's colorful, sprightly artwork is an impish delight, full of droll details needed for a vibrant world. The irascible gnome is white; Miss Witch is green. Gnome be rude . . . or else!--Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal" (1/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)

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