Tuesday, February 15, 2011

John Patrick Norman McHennessy — the boy who was always late

John Patrick Norman McHennessy: the boy who was always late
John Burningham ~ Crown, 1987

Been feeling the Burningham love around these parts of late, not to mention contemplating all the teachers that are getting ready to come down the pipe. With first grade a half year away, the looming idea of most teachers being great and some not so great is ever present, and one of my worst fears as a parent. What if he gets a teacher who doesn't get and/or like him? What if they think he's a daydreamer and a space cadet rather than an artist and a beautiful mind? How scr*wed will we be?

If this book is any indication, sweet justice is always available to those who stay true to their souls, no matter how big a jerk their teacher is. Case in point...

John Patrick Norman McHennessy set off along the road to learn. On the way a crocodile came out of a drain and got hold of his satchel. John Patrick Norman McHennessy pulled and pulled but the crocodile would not let go. He threw a glove into the air and the crocodile snapped at the glove and let go of the satchel. John Patrick Norman McHennessy hurried along the road to learn but the crocodile had made him late.

"John Patrick Norman McHennessy, you are late and where is your other glove?"

"I am late, Sir, because on the way a crocodile came out of a drain and got hold of my satchel, and would only let go when I threw my glove, which he ate.

"There are no crocodiles living in drains around here. You are to stay late and write out 300 times, 'I must not tell lies about crocodiles and I must not lose my glove.'"

Ah yes, the rub. After a run in with a lion and a tidal wave, the teacher becomes hopping mad at John, but soon sees the error of his ways when the outlandish tables are turned. Fabulous! Burningham always at his best.

I had totally forgotten about the lost art of having to write something 100 times and doing it one word at a time. AWESOME!

Also by:
Cannonball Simp
The Snow
gackern bähen


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1 comment:

Carin Bramsen said...

I came across this recently, and love it! I have the wonderful Mr. Gumpy's Outing. Both these books are beautifully paced, and feel pervaded by a huge, playful spirit.

Here's to your son's having the perceptive, inspiring teachers he so richly deserves!

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