Monday, August 18, 2008

When God Created My Toes

Mackall, Dandi Daley. 2008. When God Created My Toes. Illustrated by David Hohn. Waterbrook Press.

When God Created My Toes is a sad attempt at a picture book. The problem? It suffers from forced rhyming. First of all, because it follows the rule that everything must rhyme no matter what, the rhymes lack both sense and naturalness. Second, the text lacks rhythm. There is no natural beauty, no natural flow; nothing poetic about it. Lest you think I'm picking on it because it is a Christian book, let me say this. The mistake of When God Created My Toes can happen in Christian publishing or mainstream publishing. I've picked on quite a few other picture books that suffer from this malady that were published by traditional, mainstream publishers. If I could, I would release this book from the shackles of its rhymes and set it free. It's not that the concept is a bad one. It's just a somewhat stunted concept.

Here are a few examples,

When God
my toes
Did he make them wiggle?
Did he know I'd giggle?
Did he have to hold his nose
when God created my toes?

Not a bad start really. Toes wiggle. Tickles cause giggles. Toes can sometimes stink. Nothing "zah?" yet.

When God
my knees
Did he put bones in'em?
Did he know I'd skin'em?
Did we sing our ABCs
when God created my knees?

It's beginning to lose me at this point. I'm not completely checked out yet. But what do ABC's have to do with knees? And there's just something off about the whole thing.

When God created my hip,
Did I hear him say,
"Hip, hip, horray!"?
Did we do a double flip
when God created my hip?

See here is when I knew that this one just wasn't going to work for me. There are some better verses up ahead. But nothing that personally redeems it (for me) from its mediocrity.

The illustrations. I would say that I thought the illustrations were better than the text. I actually preferred the "kid-drawn" sketches that appear on the left side of some of the spreads to the other more polished illustrations. The kid-drawn art has a certain charm that I enjoyed. The other illustrations weren't bad, but they had a cartoon-feel to them. Not bad. Very adequate. My least favorite part of the illustrations were the white cat. There was just something that bugged me about how that cat was drawn. I don't know why. And I'm sure it's just me.

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