________________ CM . . . . Volume XXI Number 36. . . .May 22, 2015


And What If I Won’t?

Maureen Fergus. Illustrated by Qin Leng.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2015.
32 pp., hardcover, $17.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-065-0.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 4-7.

Review by Reesa Cohen.

**** /4



“Benny, please put your plate in the sink.”

“What would you do if I said no?” asked Benny.

“I’d tell you that just saying no is rude.” replied his mom.

“Then I’d explain why it’s important to help our around the house.”


And so begins a tug of war between Benny and his mother as he tests her tolerance and love with his increasingly naughty behaviour and many scenarios of “What would you do?” internal artSome of the outrageous episodes include throwing the plate, using crayons on the walls, jumping on the sofa with muddy boots, and tearing pages in library books. More incidents of mischief are added, and each time his mother’s response becomes equally implausible and silly as she sends Benny off to the zoo, sells him to the circus and even shoots into him into outer space to punish him. Both mother and son are having fun creating the preposterous exaggerations as their humour and imaginations take flight, with Benny laughing “like an evil genius” and mom creatively responding to his being “monstrously naughty.” The author cleverly shows that patience and humour are crucial in dealing with troublesome, unruly kids. But even though unconditional love wins out in the end,... the plate still must be cleared!!

internal art     The message of a parent’s love and acceptance, “no matter what,” may not be so subtle, but it is effectively and simply told by a gifted writer. Fergus is well-recognized for several YA books and has numerous nominations and selections for Canadian awards, but she is equally at home writing for the younger set, as seen in her first book for children, The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten. As with this previous book, Maureen Fergus takes a fresh look at an authentic issue that resonates with kids and parents. You can almost hear the little ones giggling with the improbable solutions that the mother devises in her response to Benny’s behaviour. And What If I Won’t? would be a fun and reassuring book to share with a child after a rude episode. In some ways, this book is also reminiscent of the lovely Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse. This is a beloved story of a child testing the limits of her independence and a mother who proves that a parent’s love is unconditional, even where once again the limits are pushed.

internal art     Child-friendly and digitally rendered illustrations capture the refreshing story line and humorous discussion between mother and child. The energy of the lighthearted story is replicated in the busy, colourful drawings.

Highly Recommended.

Reesa Cohen is a retired Instructor of Children’s Literature and Information Literacy at the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB.

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

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue - May 22, 2015
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive