Review Blog

May 17 2010

Don't Want to Go by Shirley Hughes

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Random House 2010.
(Ages 3-93) Highly recommended. I would defy anyone not to be captivated by the tousle haired, pyjama clad heroine we meet on the first page of Don't Want to Go. Toddler Lily's dad faces every parent's nightmare when Mum is struck down with a dose of flu and he has to go to work.
Dad rings a friend and is confident that Lily will have a lovely day at Melanie's house. Lily is not so sure. However, with the distraction of a friendly pet dog, Melanie's baby boy and some old fashioned cutting and sticking, Lily discovers that new experiences aren't as scary as she thought. When Dad arrives to collect her she's having such a lovely time she doesn't want to go home.
Shirley Hughes skilfully captures Lily's mutinous body language and anxious expression when Dad drops her at Melanie's and says goodbye. The little girl's gradual build up of confidence as she begins to enjoy the simple activities is beautifully portrayed. In our hectic lives of organised hobbies and electronic wizardry it's lovely to see children enjoying the pleasures of imaginative play.
Shirley Hughes' books have a timeless, whimsical appeal that span the generations and it's hard to believe that Lucy and Tom, the protagonists of her first book published nearly fifty years ago, are now old enough to be Lily's grandparents! This is a must for children and their carers to savour. Brilliant!
Claire Larson

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