The Snurtch

illus. by Charles Santoso. 40p. S. & S./Atheneum. Aug. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481456562.
PreS-Gr 1—Ruthie has a problem at school. It's not her classmates or her teachers or even the work she has to do—it's the Snurtch. A large, dinosaurlike orange monster, the Snurtch shadows Ruthie's every move and forces her into disruptive, rude, and mean behavior such as burping, throwing pencils, and even destroying a classmate's artwork. Ruthie is unable to get a handle on her Snurtch until one day, during art class, she stares him down and is able to capture his likeness in a drawing. She shares her picture with her classmates, who immediately offer forgiveness and understanding, and her life at school starts to look up. Her Snurtch is still with her, but she has more success taming it and even comes to learn that other students have Snurtches as well. Ferrell's clear, succinct prose will appeal to kids, but the story's overarching metaphor will go right over the heads of the story's intended audience, who will see it as a straightforward monster story. Parents and educators may also feel frustrated with Ruthie's explanation for her bad behavior, i.e., "It wasn't me, it was the Snurtch." Still, Santoso's delightful depictions of wild-eyed monsters wreaking havoc in school will delight preschoolers.
VERDICT A flawed but entertaining addition for larger library collections.

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