Monday, April 25, 2011
Don't Want to Go! Written and illustrated by Shirley Hughes. The Bodley Head, Random House. 2010. $22.95 ages 3 and up
"As the door closed on Dad, Lily opened her mouth to give a big yell. But at that moment a little dog ran into the hall. He was white with pale brown ears and patches. He ran straight up to Lily and licked her hand.
Lily liked that. She decided not to yell for the moment after all."
Poor Mom! She's is bed with the flu. Poor Dad! He's charged with finding somewhere for Lily to be while he is at work and Mom is at rest. Poor Lily! She has no interest whatsoever in going to the neighbor Melanie's house for the day.
It's a catastrophe in the making!
While Lily is adamant that she doesn't want to go, Dad keeps his cool. Showing great enthusiasm for Lily's upcoming adventure, he hustles her into her stroller and they head off to meet Melanie again. Once Dad has gone, Lily remains apprehensive and chooses to be alone with her stuffed puppy. Melanie is patient and goes about her day, feeding her baby Sam and then letting him play on the floor near Lily. Sam is an entertainer and soon Lily is laughing. It seems he quite likes her, and she feels the same.
Nap time leaves Lily and Melanie looking for a project to keep them occupied and Lily soon joins in the bookmaking. Very quickly, Sam is up from his nap and it's time to walk to school to meet Melanie's other son, Jack. The children play, then watch television companionably. When the doorbell rings announcing Dad's return from work, you can imagine Lily's reaction! We've all been there.
A perfect scenario for her target audience, Shirley Hughes shows she has not lost her understanding for a toddler's insecurity and resistance to change. She once again paints a memorable character with an attitude that holds up in this most common situation. The lips are pouty, the demeanour uncertain, and the willingness to make the best of it believable. The ending - predictable and endearing.