Cedric’s Tail (Amani Uduman)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Cedric’s Tail, written by Amani Uduman and illustrated by Agnès Ernoult, a silly tale about being careful what you wish for.

More than anything, Cedric wants a tail, just like his pet dog and cat and fish. So for his fourth birthday, as he blows out his candles, he makes a very special wish – one that comes true! Overnight, little Cedric has sprouted a long, furry, prehensile tail, a delightful discovery… for the the first few minutes. In no time at all, Cedric is tripping, making messes, and getting his tail caught in the shower door! Suddenly, Cedric’s not sure about the benefits of having a tail – but how can get rid of it?

Amusing yet confusing. While Cedric’s story is a classic cautionary tale, this message sort of gets lost in the roller coaster of exploring the ups and downs of having such a unique feature. Cedric is happy, then frustrated, then scared, then happy again, then frustrated, then oddly harassed by the outside world, and it all happens so rapidly that the audience can’t quite keep up. There are some chuckle-worthy moments, but in the end, Cedric also appears to have learned nothing from his misadventure. And while the colorful illustrations have a few comical visuals, some – such as Cedric’s mother weeping over the news that his tail cannot be removed – are oddly intense. There’s also a notable lack of diversity; all primary characters present white, with a few darker-skinned characters in crowd and party scenes, and a few stereotypical uses of costuming (the only time Asian characters appear, they are clad in full kimonos, for instance) that feel a lot like tokenism. The length is fine, and JJ laughed at a few of the tail-related gags, but overall, this one was kind of a bemusing mess. Not really for us.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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