Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I Love You

Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I Love You by Mark Arens is the third in the ThumbPeople series. ThumbPeople books are designed to "help parents express their love to their children while developing a foundation of self worth that leads to self respect." While a noble cause and a cute concept, the book could use some refining.

Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I Love You celebrates a parent's delight in her child's beautiful eyes, soft hands and skin, and cute little nose. The book is written in rhyme, which works some of the time. "Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, such beautiful eyes/Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, you are my prize," works well and is my favorite page. The corresponding illustration shows big blue eyes reflecting butterflies.

After reading the book through, parents are told to reread the book, replacing "thumbuddy" with their child's name. My almost-2-year-old loved hearing the book with her name, and had fun pointing to her eyes, nose, and toes.

What I Like: I like the idea that we are all unique and our thumbprint is a simple way to convey this to children. I also like the note at the back of the book that explains, "If you are ever in doubt about how special you are, just look at your thumb, it's so easy to see...YOU ARE THUMBUDDY."

What I Dislike: Although a cute concept, I tend not to like children's books or programs that intentionally use mispronunciation. As a parent of a child who receives speech services, I think it is very important to model proper pronunciation.

While the book mentions children are "a miracle" and "so filled with grace," it misses the opportunity to tell children that God made their thumbprints unique, as well as the rest of their bodies. You could certainly feel comfortable giving the book to a non-Christian family, but I would have liked it better had it talked about God's role in making us special.

Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I Love You also suffers from awkward rhyme and mediocre illustrations. Unfortunately, these make the positive message of the book harder to notice. My children were confused by the term "thumbkin" when rhymed with "soft hands and skin." None of them knew what a "thumbkin" was and I didn't know how to explain it. The rhythm is off on the next page, which reads, "Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, such a cute little nose/Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I love you from your head to your toes."

Also, the illustrations are odd. Think Humpty Dumpty made out of thumbs...but the thumbs aren't attached to hands. Although the book is written for children 4 and under, my 5-year-old thought it was strange that the thumbpeople all have words (such as "blessing," "soothing," and "understanding") written on their faces and in their hair. My 8-year-old wanted to know why the arms were coming out of the characters' cheeks instead of their shoulders (there are some full-body illustrations.) My biggest issue is that the illustrations all depict Caucasian characters. The book would be much stronger showing thumbpeople of all different ethnicities.

Overall Rating: Despite all of my issues with the book, my almost-2-year-old laughed out loud in places and proceeded to spend the rest of the morning carrying Thumbuddy, Thumbuddy, I Love You around and saying "thumbuddy." For that reason, I can give it a "Good" rating.

Age Appeal: Infant - 4

Publisher Info: ThumbPeople Books, Inc., 2007, 978-0-9801606-5-9, Board Book, $8.95

Buy it at for $8.95.

Special Info: Find out more about ThumbPeople books and products at, and be sure to check out our other CCBR reviews of ThumbPeople books.

Bookmark and Share

No comments: