From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3–Viorst's talent for voicing childhood anxieties is evident once again. Charlie likes to be ready for any emergency, so he makes outlandish preparations for whatever might befall him. If someone bossy and mean instead of his favorite sitter comes, he'll make her not glad by washing his feet in the toilet bowl and painting his face a most horrible shade of green. Just in case all the food stores close, he makes a hundred and seventeen peanut-butter sandwiches and stockpiles goodies for everyone in the family. Readers will enjoy his antics to protect himself from being swooped up by a bird on the way to school or escaping a mermaid who might grab his big toe. And they will relish the special surprise for which Charlie is completely unprepared. In full-page and vignette mixed-media cartoon illustrations, Bluthenthal depicts a determined kid, accompanied by his ever-faithful dog, as he goes about his preparations. One hilarious spread shows the boy outstretched in exhaustion after packing food to last through to the middle of May. Along with Kevin Henkes's Wemberly Worried
(HarperCollins, 2000) and Helen Lester's Something Might Happen
(Houghton, 2003), this book offers some reassurance to readers preoccupied with their fears.–Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT
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K-Gr. 2. Charlie is a cautious sort, a kid who likes to be prepared for any contingency. He dons his raingear "just in case" it rains in the house, makes 117 PB&J sandwiches "just in case" all the food stores are closed, digs a pit "just in case" a lion gets loose, and--you get the idea. He's prepared for everything . . . except the surprise ending of this droll little story. Blumenthal's colorful, mixed-media illustrations add some good cheer, sly wit (the title of Charlie's book, Semper Paratus
, is an especially nice touch), and a companionable canine to the catalog of Charlie's hypothetical "just in case" concerns. Michael CartCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved