Review of Ten Owies

Ten Owies Ten Owies
by Tony Johnston; illus. by Annabel Tempest
Preschool    Greenwillow    40 pp.    g
6/22    978-0-06-264460-2    $17.99

Johnston and Tempest bring the fun to this bright, bouncy read-aloud that tells the stories of ten children who sustain minor injuries in the midst of happy, active days. Tempest’s dynamic illustrations are packed with polka dots, swoops, and swirls—a perfect way to capture the energy of children like Mallelita, who encounters a cactus while jumping on her pogo stick, and Jazelle, who knocks a tooth when her bike crashes. ­Johnston revels in the type of silly invented language that becomes part of many families’ vernacular. Delilah, for instance, falls and “cronkled up her knee,” and Anita, picking roses, is “­stingered by a bee.” Tempest does excellent work with facial expressions as each child journeys from beaming joy to a convincing assortment of grimaces, cries, and howls. Many viewers will recognize children who look and act like themselves in these pages, and the schadenfreude will make them giggle (and perhaps also squirm). More than acknowledging that an adventure is worth a bump or scrape, this book presents bruises and abrasions as normal side effects of living and, most of the time, something a caregiver can kiss away. The bandage-filled cover and endpapers offer even more humor. ­

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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