A child dreams of conquering the world even when clothing proves tricky in this Japanese story translated into English.
It’s bathtime, and the stubborn protagonist insists on getting undressed without any help from Mom. But, as anyone who spends time with young children knows, shirts are notoriously difficult to take off. The young, light-skinned narrator gets stuck in the bright yellow shirt, unable to see, arms hopelessly entangled. The kid becomes quickly resigned to the inevitable, even optimistic: “I was sure lots of important people had been stuck before,” the child muses in front of an imagined, admiring crowd, the pulled-up, inside-out shirt exposing a pink belly. The challenges of being stuck in a shirt are addressed and overcome. “But what if I got thirsty? / I would find a way”: an extra-long straw. The child starts thinking about the friendships that could be formed with other children stuck with their shirts over their heads and dreams of summiting a mountain—“But then I got cold.” The child valiantly tries self-extrication again, hoping that wriggling out of their pants will help (it doesn’t). Mom finally comes to the rescue, hauling our protagonist off to the tub, a few cheeky butt cameos rounding out the humor. Throughout, Yoshitake uses cartoon conventions to great effect, multiple legs indicating frantic scrabbling, motion lines futility and frustration.
This hilarious, inspirational, and infinitely familiar story about greeting life’s inconveniences with good humor will make adults and children alike giggle. (Picture book. 2-7)