Review Blog

Sep 16 2019

Theodore the unsure by Pip Smith

cover image

Illus. by Beau Wylie. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760661861.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Lions, Hair, Decision making. Unsure Theo has been made King of the Whole Animal Kingdom. He lives in the grasslands of Africa. But he is indecisive and worried that he should be king. He cannot make up his mind about anything. Breakfast can take hours as he tries to make a choice between ostrich eggs and camel milk.
But one very hot summer when the one tree on the savannah is wilting, and all the animals are very hot, his mane begins to grow and grow. It grew so much that he has to make a decision about cutting his hair as it is now unmanageable.
He asked his advisor, Babs for help, and Babs scours the earth canvassing opinions, and tallying the results. And everyone has an opinion! But the results are decidedly No.
But Theodore thinks about the poor cold polar bears and the shivering penguins while his hair simply grows longer and longer in the sweltering heat.
So he makes a decision, one that helps a variety of animals and keeps him in place as the King of the Whole African Kingdom.
Children will laugh out loud at the trials of Theodore never being able to make a decision. His procrastination is very recognisable as he teeters between the rights and wrongs of what to do.
The efforts Babs goes to help make that decision are very funny and parody the interviews, questionnaires and surveys that seem part of our daily lives.
The illustrations are a delight, with the most amazing looks on Theodore's face, reflecting his indecision and worry about making up his mind. And I love the endpapers, surveying the savannah in the hot bright daytime, then the same place at night, two hipos absorbed in reading their books by lamplight under the stars.
Fran Knight

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