Playful encouragement for new swimmers.
The text’s second-person address to the unnamed protagonist (a child who’s nervous about starting swim lessons) instructs: “The first thing you need to do is put on your suit.” An accompanying illustration shows the pigtailed tot in a suit and tie with a top hat and loafers. “No, not that type of suit. A swimsuit, silly!” comes the clarification. Once the child has changed into a red, girl’s swimsuit, the text follows as the protagonist nervously listens to the swim teacher’s instructions. The other children in the class don’t share the protagonist’s worries, and they happily follow directions while the protagonist hangs back, too scared even to dip a toe in the pool or to blow bubbles, let alone jump into the water. Words and pictures humorously play with meaning, as when the child blows soap bubbles with a wand rather than getting in the pool to blow bubbles in the water. Throughout, the cartoon illustrations amplify the humor, and translucent washes evoke the watery pool setting. By the book’s end, and after lots of patient encouragement, the protagonist is ready to “1…2…3… / JUMP!” into the water, where all the students get to try out flippers as they swim around together. The protagonist appears white, with long, brown hair; the teacher appears black, and the other three children at the lesson have varied skin tones, with two appearing to be children of color.
A splash! (Picture book. 2-4)