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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Gus belongs to a big family - a really big family. There are nine children in his family and another one on the way. His parents named the children alphabetically, which puts Gus somewhere in the middle of the family ages. He's seven and he had to share his seventh birthday with his twin sisters, Helen and Irene. Their birthday is a day before Gus' and, being twins, there was extra cake and gifts. So, when Gus' birthday arrived the next day, no one wanted any more cake. Gus' brothers, Ben, Donnie and Ewan, love to tease Gus. Sometimes their teasing is downright mean. But Gus takes it all in his stride. Only this time the teasing has gone too far. On a family camping trip, the brothers push Gus into a huge mud puddle and leave him stranded in the woods.
As this is Gus' story, it is instantly clear that Gus is feeling a little bit sorry for himself. So much so, that he starts to wish that things could be different. He has some lessons to learn and, in learning these lessons, he has a spirit guide in the form of a little girl to take him through the learning process. 'Be careful what you wish for' is the key theme and Gus must learn that what he has in life really isn't all that bad.
Author Rachel McGrath has written a charming story for young readers in Mud on Your Face. Life always looks greener on the other side of the fence, but this story is a great learning tool for young readers to appreciate that perhaps the 'other side' isn't that much better after all. A wonderful, colorfully illustrated story about appreciating what you have and to be careful what you wish for. Beautiful and poignant, a must-read for young and old alike.