CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 35 . . . . May 11, 2012
Who wouldn’t want to find out what happens in a story that begins, “Johnny likes to run around naked.”? This charming book explores how a little boy discovers that growing up has its good points as well as its bad.Warm paintings of Caribbean scenes provide the backdrop for the antics of Johnny who likes to run around with no clothes on. The beach especially entices him to shed garments and splash into the waves. The offer of a pair of bright red swim trunks doesn’t change his mind, and his mother has discovered that no piece of clothing seems to have been invented that he can’t get out of.
When Mom comes home from a shopping trip, the game seems to be up because she has bought a frightening-looking pair of overalls for Johnny, with a special feature:
Even the way these words appear on the page hammer home the fact that Johnny’s penchant for nudism may have been dealt with.
But a wiggly little body defeats even this, and all of Mom’s practical ideas can’t change Johnny’s mind. But Dad knows that an appeal to being “big like Dad” might be the altering force. Johnny envisions a more grown-up self, even “pick[ing] the ripest mangoes from the top of the tree without using a stick”, and the overalls and the swimming trunks take on more appeal.
The voice of Jamaica is in poet Olive Senior’s lilting prose, and the lively illustrations are painted in Fernandes’s signature child-friendly style.
A great addition to preschool and kindergarten libraries.
Ellen Heaney is Head, Children’s Services at the New Westminster Public Library, New Westminster, BC.
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