Oh, No! by Candace Fleming

One of the greatest joys as a parent can often involve reading to your child. Sharing new worlds with them and watching them delight in a particularly wonderful story creates an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else-and let’s not even go into all the kinds of character voices you have to pull out and magically execute. Let’s just say those can’t be replicated outside of story time either.

oh no

What Is Oh, No! About?

A group of jungle critters find themselves in a sticky situation when they try to help each other out-they quite literally land themselves in a hole.

It all starts with Frog, who falls in first and is trapped. When Mouse tries to help him, he tumbles in too. Loris, Sunbear, Monkey…none of them succeed. And then who shows up? Tiger. As he admires the tasty feast before him, the ground begins to tremble. It’s Elephant, and with his long trunk he can save his friends. As the ground rumbles and quakes beneath his feat, Tiger finds himself falling down into the hole, all alone. Won’t the others help him out? Oh no. Not a chance.

The Writing

This would make a particularly delightful read aloud. Each page repeats the main lines several times, so little ones have plenty of time to catch onto and enjoy saying the words out loud. Not only that, but they are written in such a way that they leave no choice but for the reader to engage. There is also some rhyme scattered throughout, which gives kids something else to grasp on to. An example would be-

“Loris inched down from her banyan tree.

Soo-sloooow!

Soo-sloooow!

Loris inched down from her banyan tree.

Soo-slooow!”

Obviously, drawing out the word ‘slow’ slowly adds a great deal to the word and what it means.

inside oh no

The Illustrations

Eric Rohmann is the illustrator of Oh, No! and he does a fabulous job. Hues of browns and greens paint a lush jungle scene, while the animals themselves are textured and detailed-with great expressions, as well. The look on Tigers face when he begins to fall is so drastically different from his usually sly expression turns what was once a menacing character into a character that is quite comical.

It isn’t just the drawings or colors themselves-his style of drawing scenes both up close and far away lends itself very well to the story. The illustrations fill both pages entirely, and fully immerse the reader in the experience of each and every animal.

illustrations

Message?

What goes around, comes around, is the message I pulled from it. Tiger wasn’t willing to help the other animals out of the hole, why would they help him? The book highlights what my elementary school teacher called “The Golden Rule”-treat others how you want to be treated.

Overall Opinion

I don’t know what it is with tigers, but they seem to make great subjects for read aloud books – “It’s A Tiger!” is an example of another one. Perhaps it’s because it is so easy to get into the roaring character, and so easy to get into when you read out loud-although I suppose many books that involve large predatory animals seem like that.

For whatever reason, be it the illustrations, story, message, giant cats or jungle animals, I enjoyed “Oh,No!” and would recommend it to parents with young readers (or pre-readers) around the 3-7 years old. A good read aloud is always wonderful to have on the bookshelf!

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Oh, No! by Candace Fleming.

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