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Under the Mishmash Trees by Dick King Smith

Updated: Jan 7, 2022


Seven legged marsupials, gender-neutral blobs, and slimy grass! This book is certainly strange - and strangely delightful. I didn't actually care too much about this book when I was little - but that was probably because I preferred realistic fiction. This is certainly not realistic. The story is of friendship and acceptance, all told through the lens of imaginary creatures in a strange world. With short chapters and simple illustrations, this book is perfect for kids who love to read about strange creatures with realistic issues.


AGE RANGE KIDS


THEMES

Humor

Animals

Family

Friends

Acceptance

LGBTQ+ (Note: This book is not overtly fighting transphobia - but I think there is a subtle message of it in the text. As the 'slobbadunk' (Tum) becomes friends with the main characters, they begin to accept his identity. In the beginning, they keep calling the Tum by the wrong pronouns, but by the end they are consistently calling Tum 'it'. 'It' is not a kind thing to call someone who is non-binary, though, so the book is not flawless. The creatures in this book do let their kids choose their own gender at birth, though, which is wonderful. Being published in 2005 may have contributed to the 'it' issue.)


OVERALL RATING 8.5/10

This book, though very unique, does have some issues. 'It' is not a proper pronoun and Under the Mishmash Trees promotes the use of it for non-binary people. You should not call someone 'it' unless they tell you to. This book is very fun, but doesn't deal with emotions all that much. For some readers that will be great, but for others like myself it is not so engaging without the emotions.


PROS

Funny

Trans supportive

Unique


CONS

Uses 'it' as a pronoun

Doesn't have very deep emotions

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