Cover image for What if ...?
Title:
What if ...?
Author:
Browne, Anthony, 1946- , author, illustrator.
Edition:
First U.S. edition.
Publication Information:
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press, 2014.

©2013
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Summary:
As Joe and his mother walk down a street on their way to a party, Joe starts to worry about such things as what if he doesn't like the party and what if he doesn't like the food.

"What if Joe doesn't like the party he's going to? What if he doesn't like the food or the games or the people? As Joe and his mom walk down the darkening street, Joe's imagination starts to run wild. And as they search for the right place, he wonders 'what if...' at each house, peeking in to see some surprising sights. From the award-winning former British Children's Laureate Anthony Browne comes a picture book whose slyly bewitching setup unfolds to a reassuring ending."--
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.7 0.5 168029.
ISBN:
9780763674199
Format :
Book

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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Oversize
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J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
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Summary

Summary

Young worriers will relate to -- and be comforted by --this tale of a boy's anxiety as he heads to his first big party.

What if Joe doesn't like the party he's going to? What if he doesn't like the food or the games or the people? As Joe and his mom walk down the darkening street, Joe's imagination starts to run wild. And as they search for the right place, he wonders "what if . . ." at each house, peeking in to see some surprising sights. From the award-winning former British Children's Laureate Anthony Browne comes a picture book whose slyly bewitching setup unfolds to a reassuring ending.


Author Notes

Anthony Browne is a recent British Children's Laureate and has received many awards for his work, including the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his services to children's literature. He has written and illustrated more than forty books, including Little Beauty, One Gorilla, and How Do You Feel? Anthony Browne lives in Kent, England.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

A window filled with swimming sharks. A room swarming with snakes and people dressed like Hieronymus Bosch's peasants. A batlike shadow spanning the front of a darkened house. These are just some of the bizarre images that confront a small boy and his mother as they make their way to a birthday party about which the boy is anxious. The mother and son's quest to find the house makes physical the childhood fear of the unknown what goes on in other people's houses, and is it like what goes on in the child's own? Like some of the work of Maurice Sendak, former British Children's Laureate Browne is unafraid to present sinister images, and some young readers might be disturbed. The fact that the boy ends up having a great time at the party won't erase the unsettling images from the minds of readers, but it may also offer assurance that some dark paths do end in light. This could also work as a wonderful introduction for older children to both graphic novels and surrealist painters.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

A nervous boy named Joe is on his way to a birthday party, but he has lost his invitation and doesn't know the house number. Panels in blue wash show Joe's mother reassuring him as they walk down the street, considering each house. "What if there's someone at the party I don't know?" Joe asks. "You'll be fine," she says. The magic is in the dreamlike scenes that appear in each successive house's window-are they real, or Joe's anxieties made manifest? The first reveals an elderly couple sitting, somnolent, in their front room; a closer look suggests they might be aliens. An enormous elephant looms in the next window. Further along, schoolboys reminiscent of Tweedledee and Tweedledum shove a companion into a teapot. "What if they play scary games?" Joe asks. A roomful of Brueghel characters heaves and churns. Yet the love between Joe and his mother always keeps his fears from overtaking him, and when Joe finds the party at last, it's his mother who has a moment of anxiety. Beautifully and subtly executed, with Brown's extraordinary illustrative powers at work throughout. Ages 5-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


School Library Journal Review

Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2-Young Joe is apprehensive about attending his friend Tom's evening birthday party. He lost the invitation, remembers the street name, but forgot the house number. His mother assures him they'll find Tom's home if they just walk along the street and look in windows. As he and his mother search, Joe peppers her with questions that reveal his anxiety: "What if I don't like the food?" and "What if there's someone at the party I don't know?" His mother patiently attempts to assuage his uneasiness. Joe's fears feed his imagination, causing him to see disquieting visions in the houses they pass, including possible aliens, a huge elephant, and slithering snakes. Once they find the right place and Joe joins the party, it's his mother who begins to have doubts about leaving him. The intriguing gouache and crayon illustrations are enjoyable to study as Browne subtly inserts strange images, including a rabbit on a roof and the shadow of a menacing bear. The common fear of dealing with a new situation is handled well, and Browne's treatment of the topic will have readers nodding with understanding.- Maryann H. Owen, Children's Literature Specialist, Mt. Pleasant, WI (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.