SPLASH, JOSHUA, SPLASH! by Malachy Doyle

SPLASH, JOSHUA, SPLASH!

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 6
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Wilson-Max’s bright, page-filling, heavily outlined figures are just the ticket for getting the attention of preschoolers, but Doyle’s tale founders on herky-jerky pacing and character ambiguity. With his grandma in attendance, Joshua Joshua feeds ducks on one spread, walks a big dog through puddles on the next, then goes to the pool for general play, and repeated trips down the water slide. The lack of transitions makes the first two experiences read like padding for the much longer, more developed third; moreover, despite poetically phrased descriptive passages—“Deep down, under the water, under the water, deep down. Into the froth and the foam, and the bubbles,” etc.—Joshua Joshua, who looks four or five in the pictures, never says anything except “Splash!” and “More!” Is he miscast in the art as too old, or is he supposed to be mentally impaired? If the latter, he’d be a real rarity in stories for younger children—but the lopsided plot suggests that this is more a case of awkward, rather than subtle, writing. For more seamless adventures in splashing, stick to Flora McDonnell’s Splash! (1999) or Ann Jonas’s same-titled episode (1995). (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-58234-837-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2004




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