This is my first children’s picture-book book review. Legions of preschool storytime fans are hanging out for this one! Of course, you will have to read it to them. I could have bored you with reams (remember reams?) of lucid, erudite adult book reviews but I’ve decided to revisit an all-time rollicking favourite “I Went Walking”.
In my no-holds-barred, honest-to-goodness style, I will explore the deeper meaning of taking a walk through a farmyard. Or maybe it’s all just good fun.
“I Went Walking” written by Sue Machin and illustrated by Julie Vivas
An Omnibus Book from Scholastic Australia
First published 1989, reprinted approx 23 times, sometimes twice in one year.
My softcover copy of this slim 32-page volume celebrates 25 years of publication so that means at the time of writing it’s now 28 years old. I am sure the book’s huge following of under 5s will be planning a suitable 30th shindig, perhaps everyone invited to come as their favourite barnyard animal. There could be hay bales to sit on while devouring plate-loads of themed food. The country and western band would…sorry, got a bit off-topic there…
The front cover artwork displays a young boy talking to a quacking duck. Open to the second page and this young boy is putting on his coat. Pay attention to this coat, and other parts of his apparel. Naturally the page reads “I went walking” with the response on the next page “What did you see?” and thereafter. Without going into too much detail, he sees a black cat, a brown horse, an apple tree, a red cow who offers him a ride, a green duck and the boy sheds his first piece of clothing.
“I went walking” and “What did you see?” other sidelines like a sack of potatoes but in this instance it’s a muddy pink pig which is hosed down, necessitating the removal of wet shoes, then socks and t-shirt. The gang of farm animals is following the boy when he bumps into a friendly yellow dog. He marches off with all six animals following. They do a wild dance together and that’s the end of the story.
You really have to see the pictures in this picture book to appreciate it. The clear, colourful drawings and uncluttered storyline combine to make a five-star bedtime reading experience.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward