Review | On Account of the Gum
Author: Adam Rex
Genre: Children's/Picture Book, Fiction
Disclaimer – This book was read in the ARC* form. There may be some differences in this version than from what appears in other copies of this book.
Publication: October 2020
Full of beautiful crayon-like art, this book immediately pulls the reader in no matter their age. With the interesting title and immediate situation, the cover itself invites the reader to learn more. This is a book that most kids it is tailored towards may not actually be able to read it. But that is perfect when aimed at families. I can imagine young children cuddled up to their parents as they both laugh along to the story. And laugh they will.
The words themselves flow in an unusual way. Sometimes they rhyme and sometimes not. But there is still a gradual push to keep you going with the story. You need to see what else ends up stuck in her hair.
One of the most unique moments I found was when the little girl would look directly at the supposed narrator. It is almost shocking at how it pulls the girl out of the story and you right in and it feels like you’re sharing the same world. It’s a sense of really living the story that cannot always be achieved but is very successful here.
The book finishes on such a strong note with the girl finding her voice and speaking up at her displeasure. That is such an important thing to encourage in children and children often act on what they observe. So, by showing that this girl can express how she feels, it’s teaching other children to do the same. And sometimes, such as in this situation, speaking up for yourself solves your biggest struggles.
And the best part is perhaps how the book infers to children that their school picture could never be as bad as this. It’s such a supportive suggestion for kids who may be especially shy that at least if they get gum in their hair (which is very relatable in itself) it could not be this bad.
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*ARC, or Advance Reading Copy, is a pre-published, nearly complete version of a new book that is given out before the official release date. The aim is to gain reviews that can coincide with the launching and to get booksellers interested in selling the book. It is normal for there to be changes from the ARC to the actual published copy since this form is an uncorrected proof.