Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The boy who wouldn't swim

The boy who wouldn't swim

Deb Lucke
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Clarion Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0618914845

It is a sweltering summer and everyone in town is spending as much time as possible in the pool. In fact they are in the water for so long that they all have "prune toes." All except for Eric Dooley that is.

Eric Dooley staunchly refuses to get into the water. He is jealous that his sister Jessica is getting to enjoy the swimming lesson that should have been his, but he still won't budge. By the time June comes around Jess can swim right across the deepest part of the pool and Eric turns practically green with envy when he sees what his sister can do.

To get back at his sister Eric yells "Shark!" and gives Jess fright of her life. Needless to say he is soundly punished and by the time he surfaces from his time out, Jess can swim underwater. It just isn't fair. Eric, in a jealous stew, decides to have his revenge again. Is this how things are going to be for the rest of the summer?

Anyone who has been afraid of water and swimming will immediately identify with Eric. His means of getting back at the world for his discomfort and misery will have readers laughing out loud, and the surprising ending will have grownups nodding to one another in shared understanding. They know all about this sort of thing because they have seen it happen before– many times.

This is a splendid summer title which not only entertains but it also might give reluctant swimmers some encouragement and support. Perhaps they can venture into the water after all.