Although books by celebrities don’t usually make an education in books’ shortlist, Micawber by John Lithgow is an exception. What’s not to love about a squirrel that sneaks into the MOMA and uses his tail to paint? After discovering art, Micawber dedicates himself to the pursuit of creating art. Featuring New York City’s Central Park, C. F. Payne’s illustrations capture the joy of a squirrel with purpose.
The enclosed CD will help you get the cadence of the rhyme, since it is a mouthful at first read. Words like vermilion, peregrination and viridian are over-the-top for a picture book audience, but make it fun by looking up the words and pronunciation. Sometimes just the sound of the words are what makes the verses work, and their obscurity adds to the zany story.
Mostly I love this story because I’ve adopted my own Micawber in the backyard. My Micawber doesn’t paint, but he sure is industrious.