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story.lead_photo.caption Nerf! by Sarah Lynne Reul (Sterling Childrenճ Books, March 3), ages 3-7, 32 pages, $16.95. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Celia Storey)

TITLE: Nerp!

BY: Sarah Lynne Reul (Sterling Children's Books, March 3), ages 3-7, 32 pages, $16.95.

STORY: A toddler who is a monster doesn't like the many and varied entrees its monstrous parents try to feed it. Meanwhile, the family pet despises the stuff it's been served, too. That pet foodstuff wobbles out of a can like especially flexible cranberry sauce.

The little monster is interested, asking the pet, "Erp?"

The pet replies, emphatically, "Nerp," and sticks out its tongue. And now we know what "nerp" means in monster-speak.

As the parental monsters joyfully deliver bowls and platters loaded with "frizzle frazzle hotchy potch," "mushy gushy bloobarsh," "picklefishy verp" and other equally lyrical items, that child rejects them by saying "nerp" with increasing emphasis.

Who could resist "skizzle klumps n' gizzardlumps" or "yuckaroni smackintosh"? This kid.

No food goes down either gullet ... until parents leave the room and the noneaters change places. And then: erp. Erp, followed by "Slurp."

The illustrations make the wonderfully named foods look just a little awful. There's an aesthetic disconnect between the realism of the photographed toy dining room setting and the flat-looking, digitally pasted-on characters, but altogether, Nerp! is delicious stuff.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 03/23/2020

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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