Monday, April 28, 2014

Tools Rule! by Aaron Meshon

Tools Rule! by Aaron Meshon

Rating: 5 stars

Please don't tell him, but I got this book for Kiefer for his third birthday.  As of this blurry-eyed, early-morning typing, that's 19 days away.  I got it early so I could read it and tell you all about it.  I'll give it to him once I've dog-eared my favorite pages, underlined my favorite passages, and shared it with friends and strangers…  Ah, the joys of being a third child!

In Tools Rule! I was excited to see:

  1. A book on tools!  They are hard to find.  In fact, I can only think of two others that I've found over the years: I Love Tools! by Philemon Sturges and Tools by Taro Miura.  It's as if no one else's child has walked around with a pint-sized version of a saw, driven his mama crazy by hammering nothing and everything, and dreamed of using his daddy's drill some day.  Seriously--more tool books, authors!
  2. Another book by Aaron Meshon.  We loved his debut children's book Take Me Out to the Yakyu--it was informative and clever, simple and sweet.  We are busting it out again, not for baseball-obsessed Ben but for Lorelei, whose first grade class is studying Japan right now.

Tools Rule! is another adorably illustrated book where a bunch of scattered, messy tools organize themselves to come together to build a shed in order to, well, organize themselves.  The story is mostly told through word bubbles; the tools talk to each other and to themselves and say what's going on or what needs to happen.  Throughout the book there is a little bit of traditional text that acts like an all-seeing narrator.  I do wish that there was more of it to provide a little more structure as the tools, well, build their structure.

But Kiefer will neither notice nor care about a detail like that.  And who is this book for, anyway?  He'll see the big tools jump out on the pages and chuckle as the ruler wakes up his tool friends and spurs them to action.  He'll see the tools using teamwork to build a shed and then cheer at the finished product.

And Meshon thoughtfully gave me, the reader-parent, plenty of opportunities to chuckle as well: He makes puns with the tool names throughout the book.  "Saw?  Saw?  Where is Saw?  I just saw him!" or Clamp saying, "My advice? Let's get a grip on things." or when Hammer tells Nail that he's needed to build a wall and, as Hammer hammers, Nail says, "OK!  Ouch!  OK! OK! Ouch! OK! Ouch!"  Just makes me smile.  I appreciate that, but it also makes this book interesting for an advanced reader like Lorelei, who is ready to seek and find silly play-on-words like Meshon throws in.

At the end, when the toolshed is finished and each  tool is nestled in their own cubby or hook, spot or nook, they say good night to each other.  And then they snore in their own unique ways: "Pourzzz" for Pail, "Bangzzz, bangzzz" for Hammer, "Drillzzzz" for Drill…  See? Doesn't that make you smile, too?

A very cute book with very tough and witty characters! I look forward to reading it twice a day for 30 days straight!

P.S.  I have to include my non-tool-toting but oh-so-funny dad's comments to me after he read this:
I believe that Meshon actually is a ghost writer for Home Depot and Lowes, a covert plot to convince people that tools, and therefore projects that cost money and take up too much time, are cool. 
I have no evidence yet for my belief.  I'm working on it.