About the Holiday
In 2006, Ruth Spiro, a children’s author and mother, came up with a creative way for kids to raise funds for their school and other charity. By donating 50 cents, students would earn the right to chew bubble gum in class on Bubble Gum Day. While resin and other gooey substances from trees were used as early types of gum and dental care, the kind of gum we enjoy now was invented in 1928. After much trial and error, Walter Diemer, who worked for the Fleer Chewing Gum Company, created the first bubble-producing gum, which was sold as “Dubble Bubble.” To celebrate today, enjoy your favorite kind of gum, just make sure you don’t get it stuck… well, you’ll see….
Thanks to Chronicle Books for sending me a copy of On Account of the Gum for review consideration. All opinions of the book are my own.
On Account of the Gum
By Adam Rex
There are those days that start out… not so great. But you think, it can’t get much worse than this. But people—maybe even your own family—want to help and, through no fault of theirs (well…maybe a liiitle bit), things just go from bad to worse. What do I mean? Here’s an example:
You know the warning: Don’t go to sleep chewing gum! But the little girl loves her bubble gum and falls asleep with it in her mouth. Overnight the gum migrates to the pillow, and when the girl wakes up in the morning, she finds the gum stuck in her hair. There it is, towards the front, in her bangs. Oh brother! So what happens? Let’s take a listen while Dad starts snipping: “the scissors got stuck in the gum that you got in your hair. Okay: We went on some websites and all of them swear / if you want to get scissors and gum out of hair / you take two sticks of butter and smear them along, and… I see. / It appears that those websites were wrong.”
So, let’s see… your aunt says grass clippings will do the trick, and when that doesn’t work, your grandpa is sure that pasta and bacon really can’t miss. But that all sticks too, and so does the rabbit brought in because, well… “Because of the grass that you got in your hair, / I assumed that your rabbit could help us in there? / But your rabbit just sat / like it thinks it’s a hat.” What can get rid of a rabbit? How about a cat?
You can see how it’s going. Then, after another disastrous addition, the girl’s aunt is back with a pink unicorn cake because…? Oh, Hey! It’s the girl’s birthday! No worries, she’ll be all right in no time. A cop’s on the scene and firemen too with their hose and dog and pot of chili. But the girl has had just about enough, and she shouts “STOP! GET OUT! Please.” So everyone packs up their gear and heads out—including the gum that started it all. But what about all the other stuff now stuck in her hair? They’ll have to figure that out later because it’s time to go to school, and she wouldn’t want “to miss Picture Day.”
Laugh-out-loud funny absurdism will keep readers turning the pages in Adam Rex’s send up not only of gum-in-hair mishaps but of all those times when the best of intentions go awry. Rex’s second-person-address storytelling will draw in kids who may be well acquainted with the commotion that sometimes surrounds simple situations that become confounding. Rex’s syncopated rhymes and rhythm enhances the conversational style and suspense for what comes next. With so many “Oh no!” moments, this comic cumulative tale will have kids giggling from beginning to end.
Rex’s big-eyed girl tells kids all they need to know about her plight as she reacts to each new addition with eye rolls, questioning glances, resignation, and consternation until she just can’t… and explodes, sending everyone running and the wad of gum abandoning ship. Silliness abounds as food, animals, a vacuum cleaner, and even the girl’s aunt vie for space in the growing bouffant hairdo. The barber’s cloth that’s tied around the girl’s neck and lies unmoving on the table adds a comic touch to this story of a little girl with outsized patience who’s having a “we’ll laugh about this in the future” kind of special day. Fortunately for readers, we can laugh now.
For rollicking, laugh-infused story times, On Account of the Gum is a book that kids and adults will stick with again and again and is a must for home, school, and public libraries.
Ages 5 – 8
Chronicle Books, 2020 | ISBN 978-1452181547
Discover more about Adam Rex and his books on his website.
National Bubble Gum Day Activity
Gumball Machine Coloring Page
When you just have to have a piece of gum, where’s the best place to find one? A gumball machine, of course! Have fun adding all of your favorite colors to this printable coloring page.