Picture Book Review: Calvin Gets the Last Word

Calvin Gets the Last Word by Margo Sorenson

Calvin Gets the Last Word
by Margo Sorenson (Goodreads Author), Mike Deas (Illustrations)
4 out of 5 stars

Calvin’s older brother tells a funny joke right when Calvin takes a drink of milk, making Calvin squirt milk out of his nose at the family breakfast table. Calvin searches the dictionary for the perfect words to describe his annoying brother and plots a way to get his revenge.

I’m confused about the messages in this book. One minute Calvin is standing up to bullies who took a child’s pencil case, not allowing them to tease a younger child. The next minute Calvin is pranking his older brother by dumping an entire cup of water on his head while his brother is sitting in bed reading. How is that any different than the bully who pranked the other kid by taking their pencil case? And then the two brothers laugh about it and sit on the wet bed looking up the word “Family” in the dictionary. And who is gonna get out dry pajamas for the brother, and change those sheets, and dry out that mattress? What a mean prank to sneak up behind someone and dump a glass of water on their head! It’s way too destructive. I think it is supposed to come across as mischievous, but it is more malicious.

I don’t understand this morality at all. Isn’t “revenge” generally considered to be an evil thing? Why is it being applauded in a children’s book? Maybe I’m taking it too seriously. Maybe I just don’t understand the humor of this author. But it rubbed me the wrong way. I wouldn’t want a child of mine learning to do nasty pranks like this to their siblings.

I like the concept of a kid who loves to learn new words and uses his large vocabulary to describe his world. I was a child who loved words and had a large vocabulary, so I identified strongly with the main character.

I LOVED the illustrations in this book! The art style is clean and fresh with beautiful colors. Each scene is interesting and funny, and adds a whole new layer to the story. Each page is full of energy and movement. The art is truly delightful from start to finish!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.

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