3 Stars The Spaghetti is Missing Jane Matyer Leo Silva Mirror publishing 26 pages Ages: 4- 7 ........................ ..................
Back Cover: Yikes! All the spaghetti in Uncle Pauley’s restaurant is missing . . . and it’s almost dinner time. Gabby and Noodles jump into action, following a trail of smashed spaghetti boxes scribbled with the message “The tower is falling, come quick! At long last, they come face to face with the mysterious tower . . . but where is the spaghetti?
Young Gabby’s Uncle Pauley owns a restaurant in Italy. In a letter (remember those?), Uncle Pauley tells Gabby he misses her and her adventures. Gabby wonders what her uncle is doing at that exact moment, so she goes for a visit. Gabby digs in the sand for her “secret, purple adventure helmet,” and begins counting down from five . . . four . . . three . . . two . . . one . . . Italy! Gabby made it in time for dinner at Uncle Pauley’s restaurant. Problem is, all of his spaghetti is gone!
“Don’t worry Uncle Pauley,” cried Gabby, “I will find your spaghetti.”
Gabby’s first clue is a smashed spaghetti box under Uncle Pauley’ foot. He’d been stepping on it the entire time. The illustration lacks even a sliver of red under one of Uncle Pauley’s shoes. To me, an opportunity missed.
The Spaghetti is Missing, to me, is a nice little story. Gabby digging out her purple helmet and magically traveling to Italy is the best part of the story. Who wouldn’t want a purple helmet that takes you where you want and when you want? The story has all the required parts. It has a conflict, a young main character to solve it, and a discovery of why. Most times, though not always, the reason why a conflict occurred leads to a message or lesson for the reader.
In The Spaghetti is Missing, the loss of spaghetti noodles means no dinner (conflict). Gabby (young main character), investigates and finds a young boy wrapping a leaning tower in spaghetti (solves). The young boy tells Gabby the spaghetti was to make the tower strong (why). The message, as far as I can discern, is that children see things more concretely than adults, and/or that adults and children reason differently.
"This leaning tower has been here for many years," he (Uncle Pauley) said.
"But I guess to a little one, it can be very scary." ........................
The young boy sees a tower on its way to the ground and wants to keep it upright. The lad reasons that if the spaghetti makes him strong, it will make the tower strong. So what is the solution to the spaghetti wrapped leaning tower? How will Uncle Pauley get his spaghetti back? Well, if you have been reading my reviews you know this is something you must discover yourself.
The illustrations are baffling. For starters, Gabby jumps into a brown sandbox with bright yellow sand, yet the text reads red, wooden sandbox. Gabby wears a red dress throughout the story but the bow changes from white to brown, and back to white. She leaves the sandbox with no sleeves no shoes, and no socks. She pops into Italy with purple sleeves, shoes, and socks. Uncle Pauley owns a “spotted pooch.” Gabby should tell Uncle Pauley that his dog is purple with a white face and chest. No spots. Not one. Noodles has a couple of light patches, but not one spot. One major illustration has the colorful townsfolk brown and indefinable. Why? Is it that difficult to replicate from one page to the next? I thought digital made those things possible.
Maybe I am being picky. To me a picture book is half text and half illustrations. I know the text is suppose to be a “guideline” for the illustrator, but come on, if it says red make it red, not blue or green, or BROWN. Please do not say kids won’t notice. First, they will. Second, it matters none if kids don’t care or notice, because red is red is red is red and nothing but red. The “they won’t notice (or care)” is a crappy excuse for laziness. The illustrator had many opportunities to challenge children but dropped the brush.
I think The Spaghetti is Missing needs some work. An adventurous young girl who solves mysteries is a good idea, but somehow got lost in translation. In reality, Noodles, the purple, spotless pooch solved the mystery. With so many books becoming series, and many writing the first book hoping to become a series, I hope that the creators of The Spaghetti is Missing get together and revamp this story before attempting a second. Who do I think will enjoy this story? I am sorry, truly sorry I cannot answer that question.
Tomorrow, we will review the first book of the holiday season. Seymour’s Christmasis today’s author, Jane Matyger’s first book. You can read it HERE!
Illustrator: Leo Silva website
Publisher: Mirror Publishing website
Release Date: May 26, 2011
Number of Pages: 26
Ages: 4 to 7
Copyright ©2012 Jane Matyger, used with permission