Children's Author

0 and Up - Picture Books for ALL

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!
Meera Sriram