Thursday, April 26, 2018

Spring Reading 2018 This Is a Taco!


Taco is a squirrel named for his favorite food, tacos. As the text of the book provides facts about squirrels, Taco appears in the illustrations and comments on or demonstrates the facts. Squirrels are "know for their silky, soft fur," says the book. And readers see Taco in a stylist's chair under a dryer and with his toes all ready for a pedicure. Or when the tree climbing ability of squirrels is mentioned, Taco is shown at the top of a tree that bends under his weight and then catapults him through the next few pages. Just as the text mentions how flying squirrels glide from branch to branch and then "glide gently to the ground for a graceful landing," Taco face-plants into the dirt with a loud "WHAM!"
The protagonist has already admitted that he only agreed to be in the book because he was told that there would be tacos, so when the text starts talking about hawks swooping down and carrying off squirrels - he takes matters into his own paws. Out comes a red pen and he begins to make corrections like the one shown on the cover of the book. 

This book will remind readers of several other picture-book favorites. Bingham's Z Is for Moose is a similar story, since Moose also does some editing of the text in his quest to make a place for himself. Wiesner's The Three Pigs comes to mind as Taco manipulates the text to suit himself and even pulls back the corner of a page. And the meta-awareness is very apparent in Taco's last lines. He directly addresses readers, "Kids, remember, if you want tacos in your story, then YOU make sure there are tacos in your story." 

Whether readers enjoy stories with animals, stories where the characters manipulate the book, or just humorous stories in general - this is a title that will please them all. Highly recommended for elementary grades.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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