Subscribe to SLJ
100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Challenge: Solve This Library Mad Gabs

Mad Gabs

Working in a library with 550 patrons between the ages of 4 and 10 has really improved my ability to decipher pronunciations of all kinds. Basically 10% of my job amounts to me playing a one-sided game of Mad Gabs with a five-year-old who is desperately trying to tell me a book title.

You know the game Mad Gabs, right? You pull a card that says something ridiculous like this:

Ape Hand Hub Hair

and you try to get your partner to say a common word or phrase. In this example it would be this:

A panda bear

Well I encountered a bit of a book title Mad Gabs stumper the other day. A student came up to me and said this:

Honey Honey Tan Pillow

I had the student repeat it:

Honey Honey Tan Pillow

Aaaaand one more time, please?

Honey Honey Tan Pillow

And then I had it. I went to the shelf, found the book, and handed it to the smiling student.

Here’s my challenge to you: what was the book this student was looking for? Share your guess in the comments. I’ll give a copy of the book in question to the first person who correctly names it.

One guess per person!

*UPDATE* We have a winner! You can see the correct answer from Carol in the comments.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Benji Martin says:

    I thought I’d be able to figure it out, but I’m at a loss. My best guess is Tiki Tiki Tembo?

  2. Tracey Elrod says:

    Last year, I had two separate students ask for Tractor books. When I showed one of them the Otis series, she said, “No, tractor books…like Junie B. Jones is a tractor book….” I immediately knew the section she wanted to visit…..

  3. Carol Fazioli says:

    Hungry Hungry Caterpillar

  4. Carol Fazioli says:

    Ugh- meant VERY Hungry Caterpillar