Friday, November 30, 2018

Book Review: Johnnie Mr. Tough Guy

Johnnie Mr. Tough Guy is an adorable children’s picture book written by Raffaella Buffolino and illustrated by Michael Monochello. Johnnie was a tough little guy, and he wasn’t afraid of anything – bugs, storms, monsters, not even the kid next door. When his mom says they’re going to visit the zoo that day, Johnnie decides to find an animal there that’s as tough as he feels he is. They went early and so there were no crowds and long lines of visitors. Johnnie and his mom had the place to themselves. Johnnie visits a number of exhibits – the lion, the gorilla, the giraffe, the snakes, the elephants, the hippos – and tries to decide who is the toughest guy there… He thought about what the zookeeper said about the lion; even in a cage, the lion was still the king. Johnnie wonders if he is the king of the house, like the lion?

This is a delightful book that gives children food for thought as Johnnie examines each animal and comes to his conclusion about it. I liked that Johnnie had his own opinions and related each animal to his own experiences or people in his life. The illustrations are well done and brightly colored, the type that grabs a young reader’s attention and makes them want to discover more. The images above each actual animal image are just wonderful and I loved the imaginative take on the rat and the snake. There is a lot for children to explore in each illustration and these offer topics for discussion. Parents and teachers can use this book for further discussion, as well as some research into wildlife. This is a delightful, deceptively simple tale that offers youngsters a lot more than at first glance.

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