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Thursday, Oct 19, 2017
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Tiny, amusing shell captures reader's heart

"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On," by Jenny Slate and Dean-Fleischer-Camp (Penguin Young Readers, $18.99) Do not, I repeat, do not read this book with food in your mouth. It is a choking hazard. You Tube sensation "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" has hit the picture book scene with a hilarious look at the tiny shell's life and loves. My 11-year-old son and I cracked open this treasure the other night and howled. Seriously, I thought the neighbors might call the police.
Maybe it's Marcel's amusing train of thought, which jumps tracks quicker than a kid on a sugar rush, or maybe it's that wide and innocent, but slightly creepy, eyeball. Whatever it is, creators Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer- Camp have a hit on their hands. My only complaint would be the cursive type, which makes it difficult for the younger set to read unassisted. It looks cute, but for little ones who are sure to love Marcel, it won't be easy for them to take off with this one on their own. Still, the adorable Marcel begs to be read aloud, and to keep it authentic, take your voice up an octave and think like an excited 5-year-old. Slate and Feisher-Camp created the short film in 2010, which has been screened at film festivals worldwide, including the Sundance Film Festival. It was awarded the grand jury prize at the New York International Children's Film Festival. Marcel has a face, he says. "I like that about myself and I like myself, and I have a lot of other great qualities, as well." We agree. And we like you, too, Marcel. From sneezing 100 times to a pistachio helmet and a ride on the salad spinner, Marcel will steal your heart and make you laugh out loud. And she might make you wish those shells you brought home from the beach had shoes, too.

Keli Sipperley of Tampa is a freelance writer.
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