Matilda Falls into a Doughnut Hole

Nibolene Falls in a Doughnut Hole
by Maria Calanchini

 

This book is one of the collection of Goop tales based on 52 imaginary creatures called Goops who represent the bad habits of children. Does that make them horrible creatures? You will see that they are charming and adventurous as each of them finds a way to visit an exciting destination. They teach you new vocabulary words and introduce you to fun facts about foreign places. In this particular adventure, Nibolene is a little girl Goop who likes to eat too much.

The author introduces her in a poem:

 

Ah, Nibolene, Sweet Nibolene,
Was neat and spic and span and clean!
She told the truth, indeed, she did,
And always did as she was bid
Yet, she nibbled like a bull
And soon she felt far too full!

Nibolene’s favorite food  is doughnuts. One day while eating one, she fell into the doughnut hole and found herself in a French bakery shop. Reminds me of Alice in Wonderland. Here she meets Esmeralda, a little French dog who wears a beret and speaks with a French accent. Esmeralda tells Nibolene that she was named after a character in the Hunchback of Notre Dame story. She offers to show Nibolene the famous cathedral, but cautions her to beware of the gargoyles who can come to life if they see something that they don’t like. You might be able to guess what happens when Nibolene falls asleep in the cathedral. She has quite a scary adventure which allows the reader to experience more of the sights of Paris. Will Nibolene ever find her way back to the patisserie and climb back into the doughnut hole that will transport her back to Goop land?

Calanchini delights and entertains her readers, but also provides them with a glossary of French and English vocabulary to help them understand the language and culture. There are beautiful photographs of  Parisian foods and landmarks. Younger children will enjoy the silliness of the story, while and older child will appreciate learning about the language, culture and history of Paris, I feel the book would be appropriate for ages 5-12. Calanchini has a website GoopTales.com and a Facebook Goop Tales page. Children are encouraged to watch and listen to Goop Tales or download a partially finished tale and write their own ending. I heartily recommend this highly entertaining and informative series.