Books and Recordings

Noodleheads See the Future

Noodleheads See the Future

Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Award 2018 and American Library Association Notable Book of the Year 2018

To download an Educator's Guide click here. To read a Conversation with the Creators click here

Winner of the 2017 Aesop Prize from the American Folklore Society

“Mac and Mac are a couple of noodleheads, and the stars of Tedd Arnold, Martha Hamilton, and Mitch Weiss’s delightful collaboration Noodleheads See the Future. What is a noodlehead? A noodlehead is a fool, and as the authors explain, “tales of fools, also called ‘noodles’ or ‘noodleheads,’ have been told for as long as people have told stories.” Noodlehead stories appear in the traditions of many countries around the world, and the characters are often well known and beloved of the children in those cultures. They frequently share common traits across cultures too: an illogical view of the world, a tendency to take things literally to the point of absurdity, and a general good nature so that things always work out for the best for them. In Noodleheads See the Future, the stories are presented in a brief introduction and 3 chapters, each one corresponding to specific traditional motifs, as noted at the end of the book. Mac and Mac are literally portrayed as noodle-heads, elbow macaroni to be exact. In an overarching quest for their favorite food — cake — Mac and Mac cut firewood, have what may or may not be a near death experience, and inadvertently dig a garden for their mother. Along the way they have an encounter with a trickster Meatball who trades them some “magic” seeds … with unexpected results. Arnold, Hamilton, and Weiss make sure that Noodleheads See the Future is firmly rooted in traditional tales, evidenced in the substantial source notes at the end of the book. The real magic, however, is the enormously child-friendly graphic novel format, illustrated in Tedd Arnold’s signature style, that makes these timeless tales accessible to the very youngest readers. Children love stories in which they are smarter than the protagonist. The Noodleheads are going to be a hit!”

- American Folklore Society- Aesop Award Committee

* (Starred Review) K-Gr 3 The creator of Fly Guy follows up Noodlehead Nightmares with another hilarious and engaging anthropomorphic book full of wacky slapstick. Brothers Mac and Mac are the titular heroes, and, yes, they are literally pieces of pasta. They are also, well, noodleheads: the literal-minded brothers are incapable of understanding metaphor or grasping simple concepts. The humor is similar to that in the "Amelia Bedevil" series, and youngsters will laugh knowingly at the noodleheads' ridiculous antics as they bumble their way through to a happy conclusion. The author's note explains the worldwide tradition of tales of fools, their use in helping children learn logical thinking, and the specific stories that inspired the noodleheads' adventures. The cartoonish artwork captures the over-the-top feeling of the narrative perfectly. Children will doubtless ask for more titles starring the hapless brothers. VERDICT A funny and lighthearted addition to early graphic novel and beginning reader collections; fans of all things goofy will devour the noodle heads. Elizabeth Nicolai, Anchorage Public Library, AK

- School Library Journal

* (Starred Review) Two thickheaded macaroni noodles prove the old adage: a fool and his firewood are soon parted. Fools have been called "noodleheads" for centuries, but until recently few have represented the term quite so literally. Mac and Mac aren't the brightest pieces of pasta in the world, but their hearts are in the right place. Here, the two decide to help their mama out by gathering firewood in hopes that she'll bake them a cake. As they are attempting to cut the very branch they're sitting on, a passing meatball points out that they are mere minutes away from bruised bottoms. When his words come to pass, our heroes decide the meatball is clairvoyant and demand to know their future. Drawing on and smoothly weaving together a variety of folk tales, the brief graphic novel describes how its obtuse protagonists single-mindedly seek cake, even as they anticipate death, purchase "firewood seeds" (aka acorns), and accidentally dig their mother a garden. Emergent readers will appreciate the simple text, short chapters, and comics-inspired paneled illustrations. Adults will appreciate the authors' note, which goes into some detail about each chapter's folk origins. Two delightfully dense heroes bring folk tales into the 21st century, and young readers are all the richer for it. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

- Kirkus Review

Here is a second adventure of those crazy Noodleheads by Arnold, who created the “Fly Guys,” and storytellers Hamilton and Weiss. Inspired by tales of fools told all over the world, they create the outrageous adventures of the two brothers, Mac and Mac. In comic book style with cartoon characters, the literal-minded brothers go from one rollicking venture to another. Uncle Ziti asks the boys for a hand in building a wall, but the boys cannot figure out how to take their hand off and give their uncle their hand. A frustrated Uncle Ziti tells the boys to “listen up,” only to have them turn their ears to the sky as they listen to the birds. Through simple word play that is easily recognized, the two brothers find themselves in one hilarious situation after another that are sure to make the reader laugh out loud. As with Amelia Bedelia stories, children will knowingly get the connections and snicker in delight. Young readers will be asking for more of these two wacky brothers. Reviewer: Kathleen Ulrich; Ages 6 to 10.

- Children's Literature