HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: 29 Bump Street
Author and Illustrator: Alain Vaes
Publisher: Turner Pub., 1996
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 4-7
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Vaes, Alain. 29 Bump Street (published in 1996 by Turner Publishing). At 29 Bump Street, a house with no apparent human inhabitants, there is array of animated tools, appliances, and utensils. Feeling neglected, Mike Hammer and the other tools that occupy the dusty basement of the house leave their dreary room, storm upstairs, and take over the bright kitchen, banishing the “kitchen folks,” who contemplate cleaning the neglected, sink-clogged, slimy kitchen, to the basement. However, the victorious basement tools make a horrendous mess trying to cook lunch while the appliances tackle the filthy basement. “‘Lett-us fix something to eat,’ Sheila Shears giggled.” After the sugar bowl recalls the “sweet old days” when all the tools used their unique skills to help one another out, they reach the not-so-startling conclusion that it takes different tools working together to keep a house, and.both groups agree to cooperate with each other to make their home a better place.
Vaes, who has illustrated many other books and even written some himself, such as The Porcelain Pepper Pot, relates a “Brave Little Toaster” type of tale with the important message about the need to work together. For some people, the single-themed humor of both the pictures and the text might wear a little thin quickly, but children who like puns will enjoy the relentless string of groaners in the narrative and illustrations, reminiscent of Disney’s Toon Town, that anthropomorphize everything from a chair to a bottle of dishwashing liquid. The characters, such as Blake Blender, Suzie Seltzer Bottle, and Calvin Coffeepot, are memorable. “`Hey Walter Wrench,’ said Penny Plane, `remember the time you fixed that drippy faucet?’ `Yep, I really had a grip back then….'” One of the most expressive is the kitchen sink, getting its faucet in a knot after the tools devastate the room. Our younger son Jeremy loved this book. A few common euphemisms like “heck” appear.