________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 9. . . .October 29, 2010


There’s a Goldfish in My Shoe!

Valerie Sherrard. Illustrated by David Jardine.
St., John’s, NL: Tuckamore Books, 2009.
32 pp., pbk., $12.95.
ISBN 978-1-897174-47-0.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Val Nielsen.

**½ /4



My Name is Oscar Ollie Brown; I live in quite a pleasant town. And my house looks a lot like yours, With walls and windows, halls and doors.

But one thing is not normal here; There’s something wrong, I sadly fear. For judging by what I have seen, I think my mom is off her bean!

Thus begins a second Oscar Ollie Brown misadventure with a mother who speaks in linguistically confusing ways. Being told “Now Oscar, can’t you hold your tongue?” results in the poor boy’s attempt to grab his tongue and hold on tight. Her command to “Drop everything and come here quick!” leads Oscar Ollie to obey instantly, ending up with a shoe-full of pet fish! Adhering to Mom’s direction to “Be sure to be a lamb, my dear!” during Auntie’s Maude’s visit elicits from Oscar a bleat which frightens the poor woman enough to cause her to drop her jam. It is not until Mom’s command to “Keep an eye on Mister Tom…” (the household cat) that Ollie experiences some success, though not without a significant amount of destruction on the way.

internal art     Sherrard, who will be remembered as the creator of Oscar Ollie Brown’s first adventure, entitled There’s a Cow Under My Bed, has used the same formula for the text in There’s a Goldfish in My Shoe! Four line rhyming verses interspersed with David Jardine’s decidedly off-the-wall illustrations make up the 32 page picture book. For an adult reader, the child/adult idiomatic misunderstandings seem to have worn a bit thin by the end of the book. Jardine’s depictions of the characters and situations are, to put it mildly, rather peculiar. Making head or tail of them requires much attention to detail and a good deal of artistic imagination—with the artist’s being obviously well endowed with both — however, the overall result is a bit daunting.

      Little folks will likely enjoy the rhyme and rhythm that author Sherrard employs to tell the story of Oscar Ollie and his off-the-bean mother, although they may be less likely to appreciate the style of artwork employed by the artist. If There’s a Cow Under My Bed has proved to be a well-circulated book in the elementary school library, then by all means spend the 13 dollars to acquire There’s a Goldfish in My Shoe! After all, young readers and listeners are attracted to sequels.

Recommended with Reservations.

A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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