Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Nancy Willard
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
After his mother makes him his favorite strawberry pie for his eighth birthday, Little Tom Drum can’t wait to try a piece, but it only has him begging for more. His wish of having three mouths to eat more pie comes true when he sneaks back to the kitchen to steal a piece. His mother catches him and notices his two extra mouths, one on each cheek! Thereafter, he opts to lead a life of isolation and inventing. On his next birthday, he wishes for his old face back. Eventually with the help of an invention, his granted wish comes with a lesson: be careful what you wish for (and how much you eat).
This original fairy tale is a cautionary story about self-control in eating and wishes. While Little Tom Drum and his family feel the need to hide away because he is different, others become aware of his helpful inventions and accept him anyway. His road to becoming an inventor begins with lots of reading, playing and experimenting with help from his supportive parents and tutor. The Dick and Jane-like illustrations are beautiful and delicately drawn, even if the three mouths give goosebumps. This magical tale will appeal to those who love the tradition of nursery rhymes, fables, and imaginative fairy tales.