Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mom, The School Flooded

Author: Ken Rivard
Art: Joe Weissmann
Ages: 4-7 years

This is yet another whimsical creation from Annick Press (also the publisher of Stephanie's ponytail reviewed earlier). The central idea in this anecdote is something most parents and school goers would instantly connect to - a tall tale from a playful little school boy, when put in a tight corner by his mother. The title of the book and the colorful front and back covers bearing a flood scene with wreckage indicating a school setting kindles the reader's curiosity.

Gus is our hero, rather our soaking wet hero! Back from school and now under investigation by his speculative mother, finds the need to whip up a convincing explanation for his drenched attire. An adept narrator (or so he thinks!), sets the stage for an aquatic drama at school - "We were doing science and all this WATER came in from the hall........". He doesn't stop with that. And here is where the reader straps herself (or himself) to take a ride with Gus and his fanciful story, just like his all-knowing mom did! Unhampered and with utmost confidence he proceeds to lay out the incident sprinkling it with intricate details to account for realism. The vice-principal on the phone floating with his fish bowl, the gym and schoolyard looking like an ocean, the arrival of the fire truck and to top it all "Didn't you see us on TV, mom?" he quips! He also comes up with an interesting climax with the caretaker's plunger-wonder fixing it all and the flood vanishing in a flash! All his mom does is sigh and say - "Oh Gus! You do tell such stories!" The book is left charmingly open-ended with Mike, Gus' older brother walking in with torn pants and a pet alligator tucked behind!

Believable? No. This is where the beautiful innocence of the child blinds the sane mind. In fact, it could ironically arouse pleasant wonder and admiration for the naughty one. I am sure there was always that time when a highly improbable excuse still melted your heart. The idea is also for kids to enjoy when someone else is presenting a story without boundaries. It never ceases to amaze them either. And there is a good chance they will realize how goofy their own stories can sometimes sound! The illustrations are comic, and in pastel watercolors - colorful and cheery. Consistency with details deserves special mention - the paraphernalia from the science class diligently floating to other areas of the institution.

A fun package for you, for the little trickster or the goody one in your house!


ranjani.sathish said...

Hi Meera
That is a very interesting pick. I am sure Sooraj will enjoy this one..I can imagine him grinning as we read this :-). He does not do many naughty things himself, but gets a vicarious pleasure out of seeing other friends do it or reading such stuff !

Praba Ram said...

The book sure seems funny, and like Ranjani's son - K is sure to chuckle and giggle at stories like these..

Nice to see an eclectic mix of reviews here - so many themes, and all so different from the other! Loved your Stephani's Pony tail -Annick press' books seem to address unique, yet simple & funny stories from a child's point of view - makes lot of sense why!

thank you!

Annick Press - Children's Book Publisher said...

Thanks Meera!

We had a lot of fun with this tall-tale!

Meera Sriram said...

Thank you Ranjani & Praba. I had a different kind of reaction from my daughter who is 3.5 and is probably young for this kind of humor. When she checked with me if the school was indeed flooded, to which I said no, all she had to say was - "That boy is bad. He is lying. He is not being honest". I had a hard time sorting it out for her! I guess I'll give it a rest and wait a few months for her to get ready for stories like these:)

Thanks Annick Press for stopping by. We appreciate it.

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