Squish Squash Squished

Nancy Paulsen/Penguin/. Feb. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525516835.
PreS-Gr 1–In this uncredited reimagining of the familiar Yiddish tale about a rabbi and the ungrateful resident of a one-room house, famously retold by Margot Zemach in It Could Always Be Worse, two siblings get frustrated being squished in the back seat of their mother’s car. Max and Molly complain that being in the backseat is too crowded. Their mother picks up all manner of hitchhikers, from fidgety pigs to a mother dog and puppies. The children soon realize that the more they complain the more animals will be joining them, and settle down. One by one the animals in the backseat are dropped off at their destinations. Max and Molly, with light brown skin and dark hair like their mother, stretch out and revel in their “gracious-spacious” car. This is a humorous nonsensical story about gratitude, told in comic illustrations that make full use of exaggeration. It’s odd that the story’s origins aren’t cited.
VERDICT Children who want a modern take on an old story will giggle at the silliness of this version.–

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