From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-The unlikely hero of this tale is a young shrew. Gabby is always hungry, and he often talks to his stomach (it answers back with growls, rumbles, and roars). He is so noisy that plants wilt and insects run away at the sound of his ear-piercing shriek. One day when his doting mother is out gathering more food, the youngster decides he is too hungry to wait and goes out on his own. He ends up wreaking havoc in the home of a family of humans until his mother arrives and takes him home. The plot aims for humor through exaggeration and role reversal, but fails. Gabby is not a sympathetic character-he is oblivious to the harm and destruction he causes as he pursues his own needs. Chast's clever cartoon illustrations are in tune with the text's hyperbole, but they can't salvage the unfunny story or its unappealing characters.
Marilyn Taniguchi, Santa Monica Public Library, CA
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Ages 5-7. Sick of cute bear and cuddly bunny stories? Welcome to the rude world of Gabby the shrew. Too impatient to wait for his mother to return with more crickets, beetles, and "slimies" for his breakfast, baby Gabby decides to do his own hunting. Unfortunately, after hours of searching in the forest, he's still empty-handed. Then he hears a human voice: "Billy Torkelsen! Time to eat." That's all the invitation Gabby needs. Off he goes, and the Torkelsens are never the same. Olsen and Efron have successfully created a character that is crude yet totally likable and sympathetic, and Chast's delightfully silly cartoons, with occasional sound effects ("KA-BOMBA"), nicely reflect the story's slapstick flavor. The humor may not be for everyone, but it certainly has its audience. Lauren Peterson