BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Work and More Work by Linda Little, illustrated by Óscar T. Pérez

Work, and More Work by Linda Little on BookDragonTom’s mother spins wool; his father makes nails. As young as he is, Tom works, too, but unlike his parents, Tom wants more … even if that turns out to be “nothing … but work and more work,” as his parents warn.

With a kiss for mom and dad, and a small bundle of bread and cheese, Tom sets off down the road to a town he’s never seen … and eventually goes around the world, finding ‘work and more work’ all along the way. He moves crates on a barge that takes him to the city, goes out to sea on a magnificent ship, helps fill its hold with local specialties from one port to another, including tea from China, indigo dye from India, and cinnamon from Ceylon. Through all his wanderlust, he learns firsthand that “[t]he wide world was a busy and fascinating place.” Replete with “stories and treasures” – so sumptuously, meticulously rendered by Spanish illustrator Óscar T. Pérez – Tom’s next stop is finally home …

Thank goodness for pioneering adventurers like Tom: we wouldn’t be today’s jean-clad generation able to enjoy our cinnamon toast with our breakfast tea, pretty much anywhere in the world. Those who never stray far from the familiar can still rely on thrill-seeking emissaries – and their work and more work – to gather and disperse the faraway treasures which quickly become the everyday staples that make our lives more comfortable, more varied, and definitely more delicious.

The ending historical note, “Work from Long Ago,” is itself a fascinating narrative, opening in 1840 in northern England, outside Liverpool. One minor quibble: that Tom travels through Asia on a western ship accumulating colonized goods is certainly a history lesson to be further explored. Indeed, a simple introduction here to East/West relations would have been a welcome addition. Perhaps another edition will offer such further enlightenment. Until then, anchors away … distant shores await!

Readers: Children

Published: 2015


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