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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Long, Long Line, written and illustrated by Tomoko Ohmura. Owlkids, 2013. $17.95 ages 3 and up

"Give me some room."

"There's space up there."

"Move up a little more."

I'm trying..."

"Please keep the line

I think that line-ups can be very interesting for a variety of reasons. They allow you to see others who might be interested in purchasing the same things as you are. They put some people in a vile mood as they wait to pay for groceries, magazines, cigarettes, or whatever else they need at the moment. Remember the Boxing Day lines? Did that mean that there must be something good at the end of it? I am never willing to find out!

This line? Well, I was willing to wait an eternally 'long' time to enjoy every minute of the fun to be had. This line wends it way around the cover, front to back and even to the front flyleaf which offers a happy invitation:

"Come one, come all!
If you love excitement and
fun, step right up!"

We know there are 50 of them, right from the title page. A frog sits looking at a 'line up here' sign while a bird explains he is at the end of it. He is #50. A page turn shows animals numbered from 49 down through 37. The bird remains in flight, always giving encouragement. Each of the animals is labelled with name and number; almost every one has something to say, except those who are timid or sleeping. With each turn of the page the animals increase is size, while the numbers grow smaller.

Some are content to be still and wait, others need to use their pen-up energy in daring leaps and bounds. They keep those waiting in line entertained. When the sheep gets scared and slows to a stop, the animals following have little room to move. The sheep is shy and sorry! When the page is turned, it's easy to understand that the wolf just ahead may be the cause for concern.

On we go, moving ahead in line all the time. They play word games as they wait, and that helps to break the monotony. Poor Zebra is jittery at its place in line between a roaring lion and lip-smacking tiger. Could it get any worse? The yawns are coming hard and fast now as those at the front react to the long wait. When we get to the elephant who is #1, we can begin to feel an easing of the tension.

Open the gatefold and enjoy the pure delight of the entire waiting line-up, and what they are waiting's a whale of a ride! The speech bubbles add humor, the anticipation holds attention and the surprise ending is as good as it gets! I love the design. The wait is definitely worth it, and the joy that little ones will find in sharing this winning book makes it a sure bet. I wouldn't even mind waiting in that line!


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