06 March 2010



As a children's librarian, I am continually impressed by the quality and inventive spirit of many writers for kids. This week's case in point: CDB! by William Steig (1907-2003) Yep, the guy who gave us Shrek!

Published in the 80s, I had not had the pleasure of this book's acquaintance until a colleague recently brought it to me. I laughed out loud when I read it, then I insisted another colleague read it too and it was funnier the second time. We were so amused, in fact, that we ran over to the shelves to find the companion book CDC? I cannot adequately tell you about the gimmick in this book. It has to do with sounding out letters to create an entire phrase or statement, The messages revealed have a wry and witty humor which may be lost on your children. Like Shrek, CDB! seems to speak to a little older (and edgier) crowd.

The artwork is a little New Yorker Magazine cartoon. This is not much of a coincidence since Steig drew for New Yorker early in his career. You must rely very heavily on his illustrations to decipher the messages. This will require some effort, starting with the front cover when the key to this delightful book is revealed. Sit down with this book, with another grownup you like (and who has a quirky sense of humor). Read it out loud together. When you do, I promise you will be charmed.

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