The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York

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Publication: The Horn Book Magazine
Author: Long, Joanna Rudge
Date published: May 1, 2011

The Wicked Big Toddlah Goes to New York by Kevin Hawkes; illus. by the author Preschool, Primary Knopf 40pp. 4/11 978-0-375-86188-8 $16.99 Library ed. 978-0-375-96189-2 $19.99

If your preschool crowd was tickled by the Down East "Toddlahs" first tall-tale appearance (The Wicked Big Toddlah, rev. 7/07), they'll enjoy Toddie's new adventure. Enormous though he is, Toddie's still young to be on his own, so Ma warns, "You better hold on to me. We don't want to lose you." But though Toddie is pretty conspicuous, looming as he does above the New York City crowds, she and Pa lose sight of him. Alarmed at first, the boy soon makes friends with normal-sized toddlers in Central Park, who enlist him in games like London Bridge (Toddie's the bridge). He visits the museum dinosaurs ("Nice doggie!"), then climbs the Empire State Building, King Kongfashion, and spies his relieved parents. The story extends to the endpapers, with Toddie perched atop the southbound train from Maine in front and, at the end, Lady Liberty (apparently an unauthorized souvenir) riding a train back to New York, secured with giant bungee cords, NYPD helicopters hovering. It's not easy being big, but it's a great source of humor in Hawkes's energetic, cartoony illustrations of the winsome giant and the spacious scenes he dwarfs, where almost everyone matter-of-factly accepts his presence. If there's less comical engineering here than the first time out, the logical development still provides plenty of laughs. JOANNA RUDGE LONG

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