review: Jumpy Jack and Googily

When my kids read a lot of picture books, we checked out piles of them at a time from the library. Every once in awhile we were so taken by a book that we'd add it to our home collection. Jumpy Jack And Googly (Henry Holt & Co. 2008), written by Meg Rosoff and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is one of those keepers.

Jumpy Jack is a worried little snail scared of monsters who needs constant reassurance from his friend Googily, who just happens to be a monster. The cute conceit is that Jumpy Jack keeps asking whether there are monsters in different situations ("What if there's a monster behind the door?" "What if there is a monster with two fingers on each hand, who stares at me through the letterbox and sticks out it's awful tongue?") and Googily dutifully checks out the situation, going behind the door ("No monsters here") and sticking his tongue through the letterbox ("Or here.").

The text is gentle and funny. The water color illustrations are whimsical and cleanly executed with a subdued palette. Both work together to provide a perfect picture book experience: kids will love the recurring picture punchlines and adults will enjoy the sophisticated tone and clever story. Everyone will laugh out loud at the end.

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