Tom's Tweet

Tom’s Tweet by J. Esbaum

Esbaum, Jill. Tom’s Tweet. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011. Print.

This delightful picture book is about an unlikely friendship between a hulking cat named Tom and a tiny bird called “Tweet”. The story begins with Tom feasting his eyes on Tweet, ready to gobble him up for breakfast, when he quickly realizes that his prey is simply too skinny to eat. Tom is about to leave yet he finds it impossible to ignore Tweet’s incessant tweeting, so he decides that he’ll put a stop to the ruckus by finding a juicy worm for his hungry friend. Hilarity ensues when Tom selects a suitable wiggler and gingerly mashes it to a pulp in his mouth to make it more digestible for Tweet. Nota bene: the picture of Tom’s bulging face as he squirms with the worm in his mouth may provoke hearty laughter from readers of all ages.

The engaging story continues with animated scenes that show Tom returning Tweet to his home nest after being pursued by angry Mama Tweet. Later in the evening Tom realizes that he actually misses that “bothersome bird”, so readers will be pleased to see that Tweet returns the next day. Tom declares, “Tarnation! You have to stay up there. You cannot be my friend! I’m a cat!” The book concludes with Tom “tweety-sitting” for Mama Tweet, now that she sees Tom as a lovable softie and not a threat to her feathered offspring.

The flow of events in Tom’s Tweet has a musical cadence, and the story begs to be read aloud. All of the illustrations were created using Photoshop, and they have an irresistible quality that is both fun and colourful. A minor quibble with the book is the colour and choice of font, which is not an ideal pairing with the charming illustrations. Nevertheless, “Tom’s Tweet” is an excellent choice to introduce young readers to the concept of friendship.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Robert Desmarais