________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 13 . . . . February 22, 2008


I Don't Want to Go.

Addie Meyer Sanders. Illustrated by Andrew Rowland.
Montreal, PQ: Lobster Press, 2008.
24 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-897073-75-9.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 4-6.

Review by Bruce Dyck.

** /4

Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.


"Joey, is your bag packed?" Mom asked.

"Grandma and Grandpa are here. They're taking you to their house, and you're going on the train. You'll have a wonderful time."

"I don't want to go," Joey said.


Grandma and Grandpa are taking Joey for a visit, and, for the first time, his parents aren't coming along. Joey's trip on the train with Grandma and Grandpa means leaving the familiarity of his home behind. Understandably, Joey is anxious over the thought of leaving Mom and Dad behind, and venturing into new and uncharted territory. He is afraid of the new experiences he knows this trip will hold, and his response is predictable, as is the fun he has when he reluctantly boards the train with his grandparents.

internal art

     Addie Meyer Sanders uses a grandchild's visit with his grandparents to take the reader along with a young boy named Joey as he is introduced to a number of new experiences, from cooking with Grandpa, to a fishing trip. Joey's response of fear and anxiety, as expressed through the repeated refrain, "I don't want to go," invites empathy from the reader, and Joey's experiences upon engaging in the proposed activities help the reader understand that new experiences are not things to be feared. In fact, they are often more fun than could be initially believed. It is that idea that is the stated premise behind the book, and through Joey's experiences, the reader will have learned just how much fun new things can be.

     Sanders begins well, establishing a pattern for the rest of the book; the description of a new activity is followed by Joey's response of "I don't want to go." This, in turn, is followed by a description of how much fun Joey has when he become involved in the new experience. The description of Joey's train ride with his grandparents, his first new experience in the book, is the most engaging part of the story and gives real credence to the excitement of the ride for Joey. Unfortunately, after the train ride, the story seems to lose a little steam. This is partly due to the way Sanders seems to struggle with how to convey the excitement and fun each new experience holds for Joey.

     On the other hand, illustrator Andrew Rowland seems to struggle with how to convey Joey's worried thoughts. There are two notable exceptions to this; Rowland manages to eject a chuckle or two in his interpretation of Joey's thoughts on fishing with Grandpa, and the universal fear of not fitting in and being left out comes through clearly in his depiction of Joey's thoughts about going to a birthday party for his cousin, Bill. While Rowland may struggle with Joey's anxieties, he clearly does not struggle when it comes to capturing just how much fun Joey is having once he musters up his courage and goes.

     There is definably a complementary quality at work within the book between the text and the illustrations, but perhaps not the one intended. The two do seem to help each other out in that, when the text lags, the illustrations shine, and where the illustrations seem to be lacking, the text is open enough to enable the imagination of the reader to fill in the blanks. Nonetheless, the book's contents will prove to be a good catalyst for parents and teachers to open up conversations about the fear of the unknown with younger kids.


Bruce Dyck, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is currently employed by his wife and two sons as a stay-at-home dad.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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