Barnacle is Bored
written and illustrated by Jonathan Fenske
2016 (Scholastic Press)
Source: Orange County Public Library
Waves roll UNDER me. Waves roll OVER me.
Barnacle is stuck. Figuratively and literally. Stuck in a life where the same things happen again and again. The tide comes in. The tide goes out. Sun goes up. Sun goes down. He is bound like superglue under a pier and going nowhere fast. To make matters worse, a polka-dotted free spirited fish is tormenting him by enjoying unbound freedom under the sea. Barnacle's comments even get more exciting as he is talking about the fish. He uses alliteration (dives with dolphins, soars with sailfish) as he continues his rant about Mr. Happy of the high seas. Until an eel comes along. Then, in a quick gulp, the seaweed doesn't seem quite as green on the other side. Boredom problem solved.
The simple text in Barnacle is Bored actually has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Or limb. The author, Jonathan Fenske, capitalizes words (see above) so readers can see the contrasts. As mentioned before, he also uses alliteration. It would be fun to have a class generate more alliterative phrases from the ocean. And how about prediction? Will your readers see what is coming? This quick ocean read is by no means shallow with a surprise ending and plenty of droll humor.