Too Much Glue

Written by Jason Lefebvre
Illustrated by Zac Retz

Matty LOVES glue. At home with Dad, he makes glue glasses, glue mustaches, and glue bouncy balls. But at school, Matty’s art teacher worries and warns, “Too much glue never dries.”

In art class one day, Matty decides to make the most fantastic glue project ever, with a super-special ingredient – himself! Ignoring his teacher’s warnings, Matty belly-flops onto the glue-covered table, rolls all around in the sequins and glitter, and encounters an unexpected glitch – when he tries to get up, he boings right back into the slippery, sticky mess!

This calls for a dose of imagination and a little help from friends. They try a gigantic tow truck, some yarn lassoes, and dabbing Matty with everything in the nurse’s bag – but each wacky attempt only makes things worse! Finally Matty gets an idea from his hyperventilating teacher.

Will it work, or will Matty be a half-boy, half-art project stuck- to-a-table forever?

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  • Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award, Kids Book category
  • Play on Words PAL Award
  • ABC Best Books for Children pick
  • Featured in Elmer’s World of Glue Teaching Guide
  • AL Camellia Award list, 2014-15
  • MT Treasure State Award list, 2016-17
  • NY Charlotte Award list, 2015-16


From Publishers Weekly
“Matty is no paste eater, but short of consuming it, he loves everything about glue, especially using it in enormous quantities. Although Matty’s teacher preaches moderation (“Glue raindrops, not puddles!”), Matty isn’t listening, and his parents are happy to encourage him. An early scene shows the family wearing glue mustaches, goggles, and tiaras as they build small castles from the sticky stuff; debut illustrator Retz’s artwork is created digitally, but there’s a sculptural quality to it that almost suggests he could be using glue as a medium, too. After Matty launches himself into a giant puddle of glue at school, various efforts to free him only compound the problem: “Now I’m a clicky bricky, clingy stringy, blucky stucky mess,” he says, none too upset. First-time author LeFebvre presents a rowdy tale about the disruptive forms that creativity can take; although Matty’s teacher hyperventilates over the situation, there’s no yelling at, scolding of, or consequences for Matty. Adults less understanding than those found within these pages should be forewarned: while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it can also require serious cleanup. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)”

From Children’s Literature
Although his teacher has warned him about using too much glue, Matty, our narrator, and his father both love glue. They use it at home to glue everything. So in art class one day Matty pours a lake of glue from the bottle and fills it with sequins and googly eyes. Then he flops onto the table and covers himself with it all. Unfortunately he then finds himself stuck on the table. Nothing seems to allow him to pull himself off; he is a “…blucky stucky mess.” The text has fun playing with such descriptive words. He finally gets the glue to dry but he is still stuck. His dad manages to peel him off the table; then Dad displays Matty like a work of art. Perhaps they may take the principal’s advice and use tape in the future. The stage is set for the fun to come on the jacket/cover, where an excited Matty messes with strings of white glue. Photoshop is used to depict the rounded, slightly exaggerated characters, the believable classroom, and the wild attempts to release Matty. The end pages have their own message. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

From School Library Journal
Is there such a thing as too much glue? Matty, the glue-obsessed narrator, is determined to find out in this quirky picture book. Despite his art teacher’s warning that “Too much glue never dries,” Matty makes a gluey lake for his creation. The finishing touch is to throw himself into the middle of his sticky artwork. “But when I try to pull myself off the table, I boing right back down!” His friends try various methods to free him, the nurse checks his temperature, and the principal leaves a note, but they all fail to pull him from the gluey mess. Finally, his dad, who has a similar obsession, peels him off the table and proclaims, “Matty, you’re a masterpiece!” The Photoshop illustrations complement the text. The facial expressions are wonderful on both teachers and students….

From New York Journal of Books
Old folks claim that too much of anything is not good for you, but young folks like Matty in Too Much Glue prove that “too much” is just enough to brighten your day. In Too Much Glue by Jason Lefebvre young Matty is a glue connoisseur. His art projects at school are all glued with generous “glue puddles” instead of sparing “glue raindrops”—much to his teacher’s disappointment. At home, he and his dad make glue glasses, glue mustaches, and even glue castles. Matty’s mom also indulges him by operating the glue gun that helps hold all the gluey creations in place. With such encouragement, it’s no wonder why Matty ignores his teacher’s warnings and squishes globs of glue on his latest project. And when sequins and sparklers aren’t enough to make his new creation stand out, Matty adds something extra: Himself. Yes, Matty glues himself to his masterpiece! Then follows a series of funny, unsuccessful events as his teacher, classmates, the school nurse, and even the principal try to figure out how to un-glue Matty and return the classroom back to normal. Too Much Glue cleverly captures young children’s love of art, hands-on construction, and messy glue and combines it all with the wonder of boundless imagination. The result is a picture book that’s fun with laughs from the first page to the last. Mr. Lefebvre’s decision to tell Matty’s story in first person is a wise one because it adds immediacy to a point-of-view that children respond to so well. Young readers also get to experience (and identify with) the love and indulgence of Matty’s parents, the patience of his long-suffering teacher, the concern of his school nurse, and the sage wisdom of his principal—all through Matty’s imaginative eyes. Illustrator Zac Retz uses the splendor of computer animation to bring wide-eyed Matty, his gluey hands, and his oozing creations to life. The book is a veritable explosion of color, wild facial expressions and in-your-face activities that children are sure to love. This book is perfect for art time in an elementary class or as a favored book before bedtime. It might be given to a budding artist as a birthday or “anytime” gift, and it’s a definite must-have for library shelves. (Sept.)

From The Horn Book Guide
“Matty ignores his art teacher’s warning against using “too much glue” and learns when he takes a flying leap onto his project that he probably should have listened. The outlandish story revolves around efforts to extract Matty from his glue straitjacket, which ultimately becomes its own artwork. The involved illustrations do it justice…”

From Midwest Book Review
Too Much Glue is a colorful children’s picturebook about a young boy whose enthusiasm in art class leads him to use more glue than the teacher recommends. When he gets glue and colorful bits of paper all over himself, none of his classmates can figure out how to detangle his sticky mess, until his parents come to collect him – fortunately, Dad has a brilliant idea! The lively, exuberant art adds the perfect touch to this just-for-fun read-aloud story.

From San Francisco Book Review — Reviewed by Nishaant, Age 5
This book is about too much glue, so you can guess what will happen. Matty is in art class. The art teacher says that too much glue will not dry. (Matty and his dad like to make silly costumes and things out of glue at home.) While the kids and teacher are not looking, Matty pours two bottles of glue all over the table. He jumps off his chair right into the glue headfirst. He gets stuck on the table. His friends try to get him out with a lasso, but it goes SNAP, and the string breaks. They try to use a tow truck made of blocks, and it goes KABOOM! The toy truck breaks, and lots of blocks go flying. Matty’s idea is to use a white, paper fan over him to dry the glue. Will it work? Read the book to find out. My favorite part is when Matty jumps in the glue. I like the story, but I don’t like the pictures. I don’t like the people’s faces and hair. They don’t look real. I would give this book to a friend. “Glue raindrops, not puddles!”

From the Stratford (Washington) Public Library
Young listeners will be “glued” to this hilarious, outrageous story, reminiscent of the tales written by children’s author Robert Munsch. It would be enjoyed as a read-aloud in an elementary school class.

From Kates Bookery
No joke: I just swiped this book from my son. I mean, I was the one who got my hands on it in the first place, but his teacher asked each student to bring in their favorite book, and it didn’t take Ben long to decide that Too Much Glue was his new favorite picture book. But I need to review it! So here I am, at 5:13 AM, rifling through my son’s backpack to get this book. Because you need to know about it. It is such a fun book! Rating 5 Stars…This book is a kid-pleaser at the highest level. Lefebvre has honed in on that kid type of humor that is borderline inappropriate (for parents) and therefore wildly funny (for kids). I’m sure some parents and teachers will worry that those to whom they are reading will get some sticky ideas of their own, but hopefully that won’t stop them from reading this book out loud. Again and again and again. Just hide the Elmer’s if you’re a little worried!

From Pawing Through Books
…Lefebvre will have children laughing at the antics that happen throughout the story… from the boy using all the glue, to those trying different methods to unstick him, and how his family reacts in the end. Zac Retz’ illustrations are great. The images are cartoony, which help lend to the silliness in the story.”

From Good Reads with Ronna
Flashlight Press is a small publishing house based in my old stomping ground of New York; Brooklyn, to be precise. Although they don’t publish a lot of picture books each year, what they do publish is not to be missed. That is certainly the case with the uproarious picture book Too Much Glue (Flashlight Press, $16.95, Ages 4-8). When a review copy entitled Too Much Glue arrived in the mail, I was instantly transported back to Mrs. Snow’s elementary school art class where I, like the book’s main character Matty, over-indulged in what could be called Glue Pouring (and Smearing) 101. Author Lefebvre is keenly aware of many youngsters’ predilection for squeezing out way too much of that fascinating sticky stuff in the plastic bottle with the orange twist cap. In fact, Matty’s teacher cautioned her class, “Glue raindrops, not puddles!” But what kid doesn’t love splashing around in puddles, so creating a big gooey lake of glue was simply too hard to resist, especially for Matty. The combination of Lefebvre’s loud read-aloud language (there’s Plooooop!, Geronimo!, Snap! and Kabooom!) and Retz’s colorful and comical (lots of wide-open eyes and mouths) illustrations make this an irresistible, over-the-top tale sure to keep kids glued to their seats at story time! Readers learn that playing with glue is nothing new for Matty who, together with his dad, designs “glue eyeglasses, glue mustaches, and even glue bouncy balls.” So it should come as no surprise that Matty’s slopping glue all over his desk with a dash of sequins and a dollop of goggly eyes is a recipe for trouble. And try as they might, Matty’s classmates valiant efforts with a lasso, and a tow truck fail miserably to remove Matty from his desktop disaster. Even the school nurse ends up leaving Matty as a “melted mummy, clicky bricky, clingy stringy, blucky stucky mess.” Is there a way out of this sticky predicament for Matty or is he destined to remain stuck forever in an art project gone awry? Find out for yourselves if Matty finds freedom in this no holds barred picture book that celebrates creativity in every sense of the word.

From Painted Paper blog
Well the title says it all! ..having a new group of first graders I wanted to assess their gluing skills while having something for them to create on their first day of school. I wanted a fun project to tie in with gluing and cutting skills. First we used this fabulous book to get our brains and eyes going. The children just loved the book! One class even clapped when I was done reading it. After we saw the masterpiece Matty created (a body suit made out of glue) we made our own suit/shirt out of painted paper and added cool stuff (actually stuff given to me by the beloved grandma of the district). These are things that really make the students use their fine motor skills and practice careful use of glue. The kids loved this simple project. I got my assessments done and a fun display was created with their creative shirts. And of course lots of glue!

From BookLoons Reviews
…Zac Retz’s digital art brings this humorous story to life while Jason Lefebve’s zany text explains what’s happening. This wonderful picture book will have the reader in stitches as Matty helplessly wallows in the gloppy gloop, clingy, sticky mess he has created. And don’t worry. Matty’s dad, an accomplished glue guy himself, knows just what to do to salvage the situation and turn a disaster into a lesson on creativity!

From Kid Lit Reviews
The first time I saw the cover I knew I had to review this book. Thankfully, Flashlight Press agreed to send me a copy and it is better in person. Way better! I think Too Much Glue is fantastic! The beautifully rendered illustrations are on glossy paper that is thick, making it difficult for little fingers to tear a page. The illustrations are hilarious. The color runs from one edge to the other. The point of view and the angles change giving the reader different views of Matty and his situation. There he is plopping the glue onto the tabletop. Now he is lying flat on top of all that gluey mess while we watch him squirm from our seat on the ceiling. All we see of the others are the tops of their heads as they look at Matty flustered and concerned over how to free their free-spirited classmate. Then we are eye level with Matty, who has found a way to sit up. Wait, something is wrong. His classmates and their teacher all look horrified! Matty cannot get off the table. The glue continues holding him captive!

How can you not laugh at those scenes? The author uses words that immediately tell you the tone has changed, the mood has shifted, and the outcome might be bad for Matty. You can visualize all of this happening without the illustrations, but with the illustrations, it is a farcical romp into the land of slapstick comedy. I love this kind of no message, just for fun, picture book that brightens a child’s face each time they read it or have it read to them. There is not a parent around who can read this without cracking a smile and maybe a giggle or two. It is so much fun reading aloud SNAP! CREAK! CLICK! or KABOOM! Especially, KABOOM!

I have no doubt kids will love this picture book. Too Much Glue will be an award-winning picture book by year’s end. It is terrific fun. This is a great read-aloud book for a story time, the new go-to book when needing a pick-me-up, and a story you so much want to duplicate but know the consequences would not be worth the laughs. Too Much Glue is all that I thought it would be and more. Any child between the age of 4 and 8 would love to receive Too Much Glue. The story will delight you and the illustrations will kick up the laugh factor. I guarantee, you will never look at or think about glue in the same way again once you’ve read Too Much Glue.

From The Altered Page
While this book seems at first glance to be primarily aimed at kids…I think it also connects to the kid in all of us no matter what age. From the press release: Although his teacher has warned him that too much glue never dries, Matty loves glue…So one day during art, he searches for the fullest glue bottles in the classroom and the fun begins… And fun is what this book is all about. From the story that cannot help but make you laugh and smile, to the colorful and exuberant illustrations, Too Much Glue will resonate with the artist in everyone. You cannot help but like this book.

From Little Miss Kindergarten
Not only will this book appeal to children but it will appeal to any teacher who actually understands that glue expectations have to be taughtto young children.

From Mrs. Bremer’s K
“I highly recommend this book for use in primary classrooms {especially for art teachers!} in the beginning of the school year as a springboard for discussing how to use art materials properly…such as glue!”

From Pocket Full of Kinders
I am in love. Like puffy heart love!… I know that my kiddos are going to get a kick out of following Matty and his glue explorations.

From Crayons and Curls
What a great way to introduce my class to using glue with this adorable story!

From Life Is Sweet in Kindergarten blog
…beautiful, whimsical illustrations! You know how hard it is to hold a brand new kinders attention for even a hot minute, but I know they are going to love looking at the pictures in this book!

From Busy Bees blog
Zac Retz has done an outstanding job with the illustrations in this book. Each page is filled with vibrant illustrations that any age will enjoy

From Pencil Books and Dirty Looks blog
…a hilarious school romp about a boy who overuses, to put it mildly, his glue bottle.

From Carolina Teacher blog
The writing and illustrations are so much fun! I know my kindergarteners will eat it up.

From That Artist Woman
I quite enjoyed this tale and it has great flow with rhyming word sections and single word emphasis, a wonderful storytime book for Kindergarten and Grade 1…. The illustration work by Zac Retz is terrific. Full of colour and interesting looking characters that will keep your listeners glued.

From We Heart Art
Just like Matty in the book embraces his love of glue and turns it into a “masterpiece”, I embraced my Kindergartners love of piling glue onto paper and had them make their own gluey masterpieces!

From The Duct Tape Guys, Jim and Tim
This [book] is one of the first instances in which we’ve considered a principal to be exceedingly wise. Duct Tape = more fun with obviously much less mess.” – Jim and Tim, The Duct Tape Guys

From Amy Biddison, Kindergarten teacher, New Braunfels, TX
“Our class Skype with Jason was nothing short of amazing. His experience as a teacher really paid off as he captivated a class of kindergarteners. Our Skype was the first week of school and was a perfect reinforcement for our glue rules and also a fabulous introduction to Writer’s Workshop. My students still talk about being writers just like Mr. Jason!”

From Kiss the Book blog
Matty is part of a very adventurous family, so when the art teacher tells him to be careful with the glue, he can’t help but use all the glue he can get his hands on. And for the final decoration he adds – himself! Now however, the glue is not dry and its almost time to go home. His friends try all kind of creative solutions to free him, but nothing seems to work. What will Matty’s Dad say when he comes to pick him up. 
Now – you can take this book two ways. You can revel in the silliness of the story or you can be mad at the ineffective adults and the seeming lack of visible parenting skills. I choose to celebrate the goofiness of it all and enjoy the mess that Matty got himself into and his dad’s creative solution to the problem.


About the Creators

jason, lefebvre, glue, gluing skills, creativity, humor, problem solving, excessive use, parental bond, school, classroom, kindergarten, teacher, responsibility, too, much, glue

Jason Lefebvre is the author of Too Much Glue, illustrated by Zac Retz. Jason was born and raised in Holyoke, MA, where he still resides. Many of his story ideas come directly from his experiences as a preschool paraprofessional and his job at the Holyoke Public Library, where he’s been a children’s librarian since 2005. Too Much Glue is based on a myth perpetuated by preschool teachers worldwide that too much glue never dries. 
You can find out more about Jason and his work on his website



zac, retz, glue, gluing skills, creativity, humor, problem solving, excessive use, parental bond, school, classroom, kindergarten, teacher, responsibility, too, much, glue

Zac Retz is an artist in the entertainment industry who has animated for Disney, DreamWorks, Netflix, and Sony. His past movies include Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Scoob!, and many more. Zac is currently an art director and production designer, and runs his own studio, Impetus Animation. He lives in Glendale, California. You can find out more about Zac and his work on his website or blog.

Book Details

ISBN: HC 9781936261277  SC 9781947277779  ePDF 9781936261505  EPUB 9781936261420  KF8 9781936261437 Audiobook 9781947277618 Read-along Audio 9781936261321
Print Length: 32 Full Color Pages
Publication Date: April 2013
Age Group: 4-8
Lexile Display: AD600L
Word Count: 483
Foreign Editions: Chinese, German, Korean

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Activity Guides & More

THEMES: glue & gluing skills, creativity, humor


    Leveling Information

    Lexile Measurements provided by Metametrics. Guided Reading Levels provided by Marla Conn using Fountas and Pinnel Guided Reading Text Characteristics.

    Lexile Display: AD600L

    Word Count: 483

    MSL: 8.625

    MLF: 3.396

    Decoding Display: High

    Semantic Display: Very High

    Syntactic Display: Very High

    Structure Display: Very High 

    Guided Reading Level: M

    Grade Level Equivalent: 2

    Interest Level by Grade: K-4

    Educational Description: Picture book, narrative prose

    Story Elements: setting: school, plot and character development: young boy main character, Matty, problem and solution, figurative language; simile, alliteration, onomatopoeia, humorous tone, detailed illustrations enhance meaning and tone

    Comprehension Strategies: sequence events, identify cause and effect relationships, differences in point of view, changes from beginning to end of the story, predict outcomes

    Themes: school, art, creative imagination