________________ CM . . . . Volume VII Number 9 . . . . January 5, 2001

cover To the Pool with Mama.

Sue Farrell. Illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2000.
24 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $15.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55037-620-9 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55037-621-7 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Swimming pools-Juvenile fiction.
Mothers and sons-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool - Kindergarten / Ages 3 - 5.

Review by Helen Arkos.

*** /4


The pool is noisy and it smells like cleaning. It is like a big bathtub for lots of kids. The baby pool has water that squirts from the wall. There are balls, and buckets, and toy ducks - even a watering can.
image To the Pool with Mama is essentially a short, simple story that shows preschoolers what to expect when they go to the pool. Friday is pool day for John J. and his mama. The entire excursion is described from packing swim suit and towel to blow drying with the hot air dryers. Everything is seen through John J.'s eyes. He is enchanted by all the doors on the lockers in the change room. He is not sure where the water goes when it disappears into a small circle on the floor.

      All of the senses are used in describing the visit. Many events are tactile as well as visual. John finds the floor of the change room "prickly, pokey and pebbly." The water tickles his ankles when he steps into the shallow pool. His warm dry clothes are a comfort to get into after a thorough drying at the hot air blowers.

      Mama accompanies John throughout the whole experience although the artwork carefully screens her so we never do get a complete view of her face. She is there to support John when a little friend, in a good-natured act, dumps a bucket of water over him.

      The watercolour illustrations are attractive and accurate. Readers will share John's experiences of the day in his expressions of excitement and pleasure. Youngsters who are familiar with a large public pool will recognize all its facilities in this book and will enjoy seeing a book that reflects their own experiences. Robin Baird Lewis is the illustrator whose other works include Big or Little? and Red is Best. Another related title by Sue Farrell is To the Post Office with Mama.


Helen Arkos is a teacher-librarian at John Pritchard School in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364