Tilly the Trickster
What It Is
Actress-comedienne Molly Shannon’s first children’s book is about a little girl who loves to play pranks. Some of Tilly’s pranks are harmless. For instance, she pretends to oversleep for school, and when her mother hurriedly wakes her up, Tilly jumps out of bed already dressed. Others are a bit less considerate; such as telling her friends they all missed the school bus, leaving Tilly to be the only one to hop on when it arrives. Tilly’s trickery catches up to her when she gives a teacher a red-hot candy that she passes off as strawberry. Tilly’s family gets back at her by making Tilly the butt of the joke. By bedtime, she seems to have learned her lesson. But, isn’t that a jar of spiders hiding under her pillow for the next day??
Why It’s Fun
Having just passed April Fool’s Day, pranks may be a hot-topic with the kids in school. Tilly has quite a case of the “I-fooled-you”s. The very talented Molly Shannon has given us a fun book to read with illustrations that add to the comedic tomfoolery. Kids will laugh along with Tilly and hopefully sympathize with her victims. However, this book should come with a big “don’t try this at home warning.” While I love a good prank, Tilly doesn’t think through the consequences or seem to feel any remorse. Even after being sent home from school for the teacher-candy episode, she’s still at it. Later at home, Tilly substitutes toothpaste for the cream in her brother’s Oreo cookies, and he gets a bad tummy ache. Parents and teachers can use this book as an opportunity to tell kids to “know their audience” when planning a trick and think about the potential outcome.
Who’s Going To Love It
The publisher does not list recommended ages, but I would give this story a range of five to eight years old, with a caveat that parents should think about what their children will take away from the story. My seven-year-old had a devilish twinkle in her eyes while listening to this story, which prompted a nice discussion about actions and consequences. In all, it’s a wonderfully illustrated picture book, but adults need to shape its message for kids.
About 3 minutes
7 out of 10
TILLY THE TRICKSTER
Written by: Molly Shannon, Illustrated by Ard Hoyt
Published by: Abrams Books for Young Readers (2011)
Approximate retail price: $16.95 (hardcover only)
Publisher’s recommended ages: not provided