My Tummy Disaster
SERIES: An Embarrassing to the Max Book
Written and Illustrated by Scott Nelson
Heritage Builders Publishing 6/23/2015
32 pages Ages 4—8
“Max is having a tough day at school. While his classmates are singing during chorus practice, our hero is at the back of the band room losing his breakfast on the floor. ICK! Will concealing the mess with a Tuba [sic] be enough or will the ‘Crazy Barfing Kid’ now need to skip school forever?” [back cover]
Max starts his school day like any other. He takes the bus, meets friends on the playground, and then heads to homeroom. In music class, while his classmates are singing, Max becomes dizzy, sweaty, and a green mess. Really green, until . . . ugh, breakfast leaves his stomach and lands on the floor. No one moves. No one except Sydney. She raises her hand and informs the teacher about Max. Two days later, after recuperating at home, Max again heads off to school sure, thanks to the stinky mess he left in music class, he would have a horrible day of terror, taunts, and teasing,. Max allows imagined scenes into his head, causing tension. Then this happens: nothing. No teasing No bullying. Max is stunned.
My Tummy Disaster takes an interesting view of bullies. Max, a cute brown-eyed pup, believes the school bullies will use his music class incident as a reason to bully him. Max does not understand bullies. They never need a reason to bully anyone. The bullies leave Max alone, which he credits to his school’s anti-bullying campaigns. Max also learns the kids received an early and longer recess so the janitor could clean up his mess. Max believes he helped his class (avoid school) and is now their hero. With everything in Max’s favor, he is a happy camper and once again loves school. In this final spread, Max’s pose reminds me of Snoopy, of Peanuts Gang fame.
My Tummy Disaster is an interesting story. The author understands children’s sometimes-irrational thinking, blowing up both good and bad. The colorful digital illustrations are cute, and enhance the story, giving the characters some much-needed personality. Children will love the illustrative story. All the characters have emotional eyes, and take on interesting personalities through their various positions in the spreads.
My Tummy Disaster has one fatal flaw. Max, the narrator, tells us the story on each page. He rarely shows us the story. As told through the written story, the characters supporting Max are flat, undeveloped, and without energy. The (all but), non-existent dialogue makes Max’s telling of the story read like a late-night monologue, rather than a character driven story.
My Tummy Disaster could be a fun children’s story. Nelson’s bright and attractive watercolor illustrations will draw kids to his pictorial story. Nelson understands kids. He also knows how to construct a children’s story. With some good editing, targeted polishing, and actual dialogue (involving more than the main character), My Tummy Disaster could change from the current tell-all story to a story children will repeatedly request for its wonderful, fully engaged characters and humorous, fully developed story
Nelson’s new series, Embarrassing to the Max—wonderful title / fun to read aloud—will address embarrassing moments all kids could face. Each edition will include how to deal bullies, classmates, and kids’ worries associated with the embarrassing moment. In addition, Embarrassing to the Max intends to “show kids how to avoid feeling shame and humiliation for natural acts.”
EMBARRASSING TO THE MAX, #1: MY TUMMY DISASTER. Text and illustrations copyright © 2014 by Scott Nelson Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Heritage Builders Publishing, Monterey, CA.
Find My Tummy Disaster on Goodreads HERE.
MY TUMMY DISASTER (EMBARRASSING TO THE MAX, #1). Illustrations © 2014 by Scott Nelson. Used by permission of Heritage Builders Publishing.
Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Embarrassing to the Max, #1: My Tummy Disaster by Scott Nelson, and received from Heritage Builders Publishing, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”