Terrific

by Jon Agee

Not your typical picture book hero, middle-aged Eugene has a pessimistic spin for... read more

Not your typical picture book hero, middle-aged Eugene has a pessimistic spin for every event and always comes up with the same grumpy observation. He wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Bermuda. “ 'Terrific,’ he said. 'I’ll probably get a really nasty sunburn.’ ” His cruise boat sinks and he’s stranded on a desert island, with pomegranates the only food around. “ 'Terrific,’ said Eugene. 'I hate pomegranates!’ ” Even the appearance of an ingenious talking parrot named Lenny, who diagrams and directs construction of an escape boat, doesn’t create much of a reaction in Eugene. The two set sail, and after hours of floating in the hot sun (“ 'Terrific,’ said Eugene. 'We’re going to die of thirst.’ ”) they run (literally) into a fishing trawler. It’s only when the trawler captain questions Lenny’s intelligence that Eugene is stirred to defend his companion. And when it appears that his avian comrade has left on a departing ship, Eugene fears that he’s lost a true friend. However, all ends well for the duo, and Eugene’s motto is transformed in tone from disparaging to joyful. As an added bonus, all those “terrifics” make this an automatic audience-participation read aloud. (Ages 4–7)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2006

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