Barnacle Is Bored is about, well, exactly what the title says. The protagonist is a barnacle who lives on the underside of a pier. It’s not the most action-packed life: the tide goes in and out, and he occasionally gets to see other, more mobile sea creatures pass him by, and is envious of their lives, which must surely be much more fun than his. Until a colorful, polka-dotted fish ambles by, that Barnacle assumes must be a real party animal, and Barnacle imagines all of the fun this fish must have. Until Barnacle sees for himself that the fish’s life is not that much fun at all.
This book takes a snarky, irreverent tone to answer the eternal problem of kids’ boredom. It teaches in very clear terms that the grass is not always greener on the other side, and that even though someone else’s life may look better than yours from the outside, they might actually have serious problems that they face. This is a lesson that could apply to many things in a kid’s life, and after reading the book, you can discuss with them what things they envy about other people, and on the flip side, why other people’s lives might be difficult even when they seem to have it all.
The ending does veer sharply into a bit of sudden, dark humor, and although this might be a little jarring for a more sensitive kid, other kids might find it hysterically funny. The characters’ goofy designs and expressive faces provide additional laughs, and the humor adds repeat readability to an otherwise fairly simple story. It may, least for a little while, get your kids to stop saying they’re bored – or the ending might scare them out of their boredom, in a “be careful what you wish for” sense. Either way, they will have learned to appreciate what they have.
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