The Gothamites

Elsewhere Editions/Archipelago/. Jun. 2019. 44p. Tr $18. ISBN 9781939810281.
Gr 3 Up–The Gothamites are a people so smart that other foreign advisors seek their counsel. This forces them to leave their own lives behind. When they return, their town is in ruins. One old wise Gothamite declares that in order to keep their own best interests in mind, they must start doing stupid deeds. This way, the foreign advisors will stop bothering them. They start by building a new chamber house with only three walls made out of logs. Then, while trying to get light, they decide to take the shingles off the roof. This proves good until the seasons change. The King of Utopia decides to come to visit Gotham to see if the Gothamites have lost all their wits. He finds that they are clumsy and can’t solve decent riddles. Each part of the narrative carries over to the finale, which sends the Gothamites or “fools” into other parts of the world. The illustrations are one of a kind, with a lot of activity in the pictures reminiscent of Richard Scarry’s books. There is some content like drinking discussed that could present a problem for some libraries or classrooms.
VERDICT  A goofy collection of stories that may be useful in curriculums focused on folktales; a secondary purchase for most.

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