Birthday Suit

2012. 32p. 978-1-55451-136-7.
PreS-Gr 2–The cover illustration of an energetic, nude child splashing in the ocean quickly sets the tone for this humorous and entertaining tale of Johnny, who refuses to wear clothing. Though his mother explains that he is too old to be running around naked, the active almost four-year-old continues to strip off his apparel. His mom snaps him into a pair of metal-studded overalls, but soon he squirms, slips, worms, jumps, and jostles his way out of them. Dad explains that big boys wear clothes in public and adds that if Johnny were dressed, he would be like his father. It seems that this conversation has won the boy over. Or has it? On the final page, Johnny again splashes about in the water and kicks off his red swimming trunks. For the most part, this story told through poetic verse flows well. Comical events will appeal to young children who can identify with strong-willed, independent-thinking Johnny. Fernandes’s warm, sunny artwork places this story in a Caribbean-like setting. Children will find lots of fun details tucked into the illustrations, such as a large sun with facial features and a crab holding a cat by the tail. Some adults will shy away from this book because of the topic of nudity, but the artist avoids showing any anatomical details. Altogether, a fun read-aloud.–Lynn Vanca, Freelance Librarian, Akron, OH

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