A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Rhyming and some wordplay could provide an opportunity for learning.
Try to make the best out of a bad situation, it's all you can really do sometimes. Good intentions sometimes lead to the worst ideas, so think through your decisions very carefully.
Positive Role Models
The main character heroically endures their family's well-intentioned attempts that only make the situation worse. Even though the interventions are preposterous, the main character is both a sympathetic and relatable character. The main character is not clearly gendered and appears to be White, like most other family members. One male-presenting character (maybe the father) has brown skin.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Adam Rex's On Account of the Gum tackles a super relatable kid problem -- gum-in-hair -- and the increasingly absurd attempts one family makes to remove gum from the hair of a very unlucky child. There's no violence, though it could be argued that this poor kid endures the torture of their well-intentioned but very misguided family. The kid tolerates a great deal of failed interventions before losing their cool and screaming at firefighters and a police officer to "GET OUT!" (followed by a quieter, "please"). Occasionally rhyming text, escalating drama, and expressive drawings make this a great read-aloud for kids of all ages.
Is It Any Good?
This wildly creative, giggle-and-guffaw inducing picture book will delight readers of any age. Building on an experience many kids have had -- falling asleep while chewing gum and waking up with said gum stuck in hair --On Account of the Gum chronicles one family's wayward attempts at ridding the kid of the offending gum. Rex's entertaining pictures mostly show the main character seated at a table as family members try to "help," and the art really shines in the child's priceless facial expressions and the ever-growing pile of failed gum-removal attempts on top of their head. The author's sometimes-rhyming, deadpan text is a joy to read out loud. The narrator puts readers in the shoes of the poor kid, so that by the time the plot twists near the end arrive, readers will groan in genuine empathy. There are still big laughs in store, but make sure to flip all the way to the inside of the back cover for the rewarding true end of this uproarious story. This is a great pick for family reading, sure to be requested over and over by young readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.