Pugtato Finds a Thing

HarperCollins/Zondervan/Zonderkidz. Aug. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780310767817.
K-Gr 2–In a very odd garden, where leaves have tiny faces and sunflowers smile, lives a spud, Pugtato, whose “spuddies” include a wise old Unicorn on the cob; Carrat, a rodent-like orange veggie; chill dude Purrsnips; Cowbbage, who moos at things; and more. When Pugtato, who digs in the dirt very much as a pug might, with the markings and small paws of that breed, unearths a small opalescent spiraling round Thing, he queries all, near and far, to find out what it is. He follows his heart in how it should be handled—the others are not quite so careful with it—and hugs it till a snail friend, a new spuddy for him, emerges. The rhyme scheme of the story is charmingly awkward: “Sorry to wake you, but I am confused. Can you tell me how this little Thing should be used?” Still, this is destined to be a story hour favorite, as Thing is passed from one helpful neighbor to another, and bounced, scratched, tossed, and nearly eaten on its way to friendship. Corrigan’s illustrations have a Japanese minimalism but an English country garden’s palette and readers will smile through the pages, seeking what’s next.
VERDICT In a world where vegetables and animals are merged into one endearing category, this book speaks to a preschooler’s sense of silly while also carrying a lesson of loving inclusion.

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