________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 7. . . .October 18, 2013


The Long, Long Line.

Tomoko Ohmura.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids, 2013.
40 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-926973-92-0.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

***˝ /4

From the cover and the front flap, followed by the title page, readers are pulled into this whimsical story. We are invited by a bird, who seems to be the guide, to join the line up for...?

internal art     Well, that remains a mystery for several pages. What we do see is a continuing line of animals, from the smallest, a frog who happens to be #50. Each animal after is numbered and labelled. The animals increase in size, the numbers decrease, and the line continues, with the countdown.

     And who is happy about lining up? No one. Yet, there seems to something special at the end to attract such a wide variety of representatives of the animal kingdom, and lots of cross chatter takes place among the participants.

It's so popular! states a squirrel.
It always is, replies a turtle.

What's this line for? asks a weasel.
What? You don't know? responds a hedgehog.

     To pass the time, there is a jumping contest between the Raccoon and the Fox, a bit of pushing and shoving, and then several of the animals start a word game. Throughout, the bird is a constant presence, encouraging order in the line, trying to keep peace and even offering food to a hungry lion, #9.

     Patience is rewarded, both for the reader and the animals in the long, long line. A dramatic and impressive foldout spread in the centre of the book reveals a gigantic whale with all the animals on his back, and the whale proceeds to do several tricks. He somersaults, dives, dips, sprays and splashes. It's a whale of a roller coaster ride!! So worth the wait, the animals proclaim.

     It seems like the animals would eagerly look forward to this ride again.

     Cleverly constructed, with gentle humour, Tomoko Ohmura's simple story is enhanced with delightful drawings of lively and colourful animals that capture both their excitement and impatience. Their expressions add to the comic touch. Even the sign posts and word balloons are amusing additions and are well-placed. Children can benefit in reciting the numbers, the animals’ names and can appreciate and recognize the concept of size.


Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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