4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Author Mary Cuffe Perez has taken her love for nature and put that into her children's book, Gnarlys of the North Woods. The narrator, known as a Trom, invites the reader into his home, which is a hollowed-out tree. He explains the differences between the Gnomes and the Gnarlys, which has resulted in a long-standing forest feud between the two species. While Gnomes are very orderly, invest a lot of time studying their surroundings, and are hard workers, Gnarlys are the exact opposite. They go out of their way to make life miserable for others, nap often, and are extremely lazy.
Because both groups dwell in the same territory, they have distinct lines drawn that the other should never invade. However, it brings a Gnarly great joy to provoke a Gnome to anger to get a reaction. It's somewhat of a cat and mouse game as a Gnarly's most considerable skill is mimicking the sounds of other animals to mislead and disrupt the peace. I won't give away any spoilers, but the Gnomes fall for a big Gnarly hoax, which becomes the focal point of the plot.
There wasn't a single thing I didn't like. The author's humorous tone was highly engaging, and I enjoyed her creative expressions. For example, the Gnarlys have an affinity for 'gobble'. This substance is chewed up gum that has been left behind by humans and is considered a delicacy. I could easily visualize minuscule creatures sampling this off the ground as this writer's words are so vivid and detailed. While it had a silly overtone, it also raises awareness about littering and being careful about keeping the environment clean.
The schemes and plans of these critters are executed without any foresight about what consequences could happen. Their behavior makes one want to keep on reading to see what kind of trouble is coming next. In many cases, what could have turned out disastrous takes a sudden funny turn that saves the day. I think this will keep youngsters glued to the pages and giggling as they try to guess what the outcome will be.
I did not find any errors while reading this, so it seems to have been professionally edited. Along with the impeccable writing, there are black and white pencil illustrations to support this tale that makes the entire package more attractive and charmingly old fashioned.
With great pleasure, I award this 4 out of 4 stars and recommend it to children who have mastered reading simple chapter books. For those who cannot read independently, this would make an excellent story for adults to read out loud to younger elementary school-aged children.
Gnarlys of the North Woods
View: on Bookshelves