Pinch and Dash and the Terrible Couch
Michael J. Daley, author
Michael J. Daley is the author of Space Station Rat, Shanghaied to the Moon, and Rat Trap. He lives with his wife, author Jessie Hass, in Westminster, Vermont.
Read more about Michael.
Thomas F. Yezerski, illustrator
Thomas F. Yezerski is the illustrator of Mrs. Muddle Holidays, The Winner’s Walk, and Mimmie and Sophie: All Around Town, among other children’s books. He is also the author and illustrator of Meadowlands: A Wetlands Survival Story. Thomas lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Read more about Thomas.
- Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year
An oversized couch with "daring dashes of red" causes a conundrum for understated Pinch. Will good friend Dash find a way to make it work?
Daley and Yezerski pair up again (Pinch and Dash Make Soup, 2012) for a slice-of-life story told in six brief chapters. They ably move the plot along while watercolor-and-ink illustrations inject humor into this odd-couple approach to dealing with a dilemma. Pinch is put out that Aunt Hasty has sent him her couch for safekeeping after moving to a tiny apartment. This huge piece of furniture is too big and too bright for Pinch's quiet aesthetic. His home has blue curtains with "pleasing pinches of orange" and a "snug chair." Gruff movers Push and Shove just want to get the job done. They leave the sofa in the middle of Pinch's house after pushing and shoving everything else out of the way. In comes Dash to help rearrange. After more futile pushing and shoving, Pinch is still not happy. Dash, however, finds the couch's cushions "just right" and settles in for a snooze. Hot and frustrated, Pinch opens his windows and notices the breeze blowing Dash's curtains on the other side of their duplex-and they are "curtains with daring dashes of red!" A whispered call to Push and Shove leads to a satisfying conclusion.
A good choice for newly independent readers not quite ready for longer fiction.
School Library Journal
Pinch, a comfort-loving creature in blue pajamas, is reading his cookbook when the doorbell rings. Two movers, appropriately named Push and Shove, deliver an oversize orange couch from his Aunt Hasty. By pushing and shoving the desk and the snug chair out of the way, they fit the couch in front of the fireplace. Dash, the tall thin neighbor who lives in the adjoining house, comes over and tries to rearrange the furniture. Despite a glass of tart lemonade to "give them pluck," Dash is soon sound asleep. Looking out his window, Pinch realizes that Dash's curtains with their "daring dashes of red" match the offending couch. The book ends with a pleased Pinch watching the movers get the couch--and his sleeping friend--up Dash's steps. These friends were introduced in Pinch and Dash Make Soup (Charlesbridge, 2012), and their second adventure features the same easy-to-read format and droll humor. Bright watercolor illustrations provide emerging readers with plenty of textual clues. This early chapter book makes a welcome addition to most collections.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Pinch's quiet afternoon is rudely interrupted when two movers (aptly named Push and Shove) show up with a couch to deliver and proceed to steadfastly ignore Pinch's protests that he doesn't want the couch, instead shoving furniture around until they've stuffed the thing willy-nilly into Pinch's small living room. The couch is in fact the property of Pinch's flighty aunt, who is in between houses and needs to store it somewhere. Poor Pinch is despondent ("'She will forget about this couch,' Pinch said. 'I will never sit in my snug chair again'"), but his pal Dash shows up and cheerily swings into interior-design action, trying to rearrange the furniture to fit the supersized sofa. All that work tires Dash out and he ends up snoozing on the sofa. It is then that Pinch sees a solution: move the couch to Dash's house, which Push and Shove ably do, with a sleeping Dash still atop it. This second installment in the Pinch and Dash series further solidifies the pair's humorously complementary characters. As in the first volume, simple vocabulary, short sentences, and repeated words and phrases all work harmoniously to support novice readers. Pinch and Dash are likable fellows, in much the same vein as Frog and Toad and other classic friendship duos--even it we're not entirely sure what kind of animals they are. Yezerski's loose lines, filled in with skillfully applied watercolor, give this a casual, approachable feel, and the garish red-orange print of the couch contrasts amusingly with the more sedate colors of Pinch's décor. The couch may be terrible, but the book is a charmer.
Reading Today Online
Not only are they different in their appearances, but good friends Pinch and Dash are decidedly different in their attitudes toward life. When Pinch's Aunt Hasty has a large red couch delivered to his place, he is disconcerted since it crowds the room and doesn’t match the decorating scheme. Dash arrives and helpfully tries to rearrange the furniture to make it fit, but still Pinch is unhappy because the couch overwhelms the room. After much pushing, pulling, tugging, and quite a lot of complaining from Pinch as well as lemonade break, Pinch finds the solution to his problems right next door. Readers will appreciate how the friends accept each other even while not seeing eye to eye. Both seem comfortable with their own choices and personality. The snarky attitudes of movers Push and Shove will prompt laughter, and the pen and ink and watercolor illustrations are quite appealing as well. This title is especially suited for a read aloud or a reader’s theatre adaptation.
ISBN: 978-1-60734-592-3 PDF
Page count: 48