I’ve had many types of pets during my lifetime: Guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rats, hermit crabs, fish, turtles, chinchillas, rabbits, cats, dogs, and more. But there is one type of pet I’ve never had the fine opportunity to raise: glurbs. After reading Elise Gravel’s adorable and very thorough manual on the ins-and-outs of glurb ownership, I believe I am definitely ready to adopt a glurb. I just need to borrow ten cents from my wife so I can go down to the monster store and buy one!
Adopt a Glurb is a lovely book full of imagination and humor. Organized in a similar manner to a pet owner’s manual, there is really no story to speak of in the book. Instead, Adopt a Glurb is divided into a number of sections that provide information on the numerous facets of the lives of the titular imaginary monsters. Readers will learn, for instance, that even though glurbs enjoy taking baths, they’ll still stink afterwards, but this is perfectly normal. Also, glurbs love playing soccer, so if you give them a chickpea, they’ll start a game. However, readers should remember that raising a pet is not easy, and glurbs are no exception. But for all the difficulties glurbs might present their owners, the love and fun they provide more than makes up for any hassle. Such an abundance of information about glurbs ensures children will learn new things upon each successive rereading.
The silly premise of Adopt a Glurb is further reflected in Elise Gravel’s artwork. The illustrations look like something out of a sketchbook. They are imprecise and childlike in a manner that coincides with the lighthearted tone of the book, yet at the same time there is a sophistication and orderliness to the layouts and a restraint in the employment of color schemes that is anything but rudimentary. When coupled with the brawny binding and bulky paper stock, the visual elements of Adopt a Glurb work to give the book the impression of being a fancy, abstract art collection one might find on a snooty socialite’s coffee table. Put simply, the entire design of the book is outstanding, and it will capture the attention of both children and adults.
Because of the nature of Adopt a Glurb’s set-up, the lack of a plotline might make it more challenging for some readers who are only used to standard storybooks. That is, since it is presented like a pet owner’s manual, the book doesn’t flow in a manner that most children may be used to, which may lead to some initial confusion. At the same time the book’s unconventional approach is what makes it stand out as something fun and unique, and readers should appreciate that Adopt a Glurb is anything but the same old thing. Additionally, the arrangement of information about glurbs is logically organized akin to chapters, making the book easy enough to follow once any preliminary disorientation has passed.
It’s hard not to wish glurbs were real after reading Adopt a Glurb. I would definitely adopt one if I could! In fact, I would adopt more than one because the book informs me that if I had at least three glurbs, they would make my bed for me. That alone is certainly more than worth any trouble that comes with glurb ownership in my too-lazy-to-make-my-bed opinion! Librarians, teachers, or parents looking to add something a little different and a whole lot amusing to their children’s book collections should definitely adopt Elise Gravel’s delightful book. And even if glurbs are fictional creatures, you might want to stock up on glurb food just in case!
Adopt a Glurb
by Elise Gravel
Blue Apple Books, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: 6