That’s Good! That’s Bad! by Margery Cuyler


ChildrenThat's Good! That's Bad! (An Owlet Book) That’s Good! That’s Bad!Margery Cuyler; Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) 1993WorldCatIllustrated by David Catrow

Review is by Molly

Setting for this particular Cuyler work is a zoo.

When a little boy went to the zoo with his mother and father they bought him a shiny red balloon. And that was the beginning of his good/bad adventures.

The balloon lifted him high up into the sky, and that was good, ummm, no that was bad because the balloon drifted for hours before it came to a jungle, and popped when it touched the branch of a tall, prickly tree.  And that was bad, errr, no that was good.

And so the adventures went from a tumble into a muddy river full of hippos to meeting 10 noisy baboons, locating a vine to grab for his getaway, meeting elephants and lions and a big billed stork; until at last he is reunited with his parents.

That’s Good! That’s Bad! is a super story about assumptions.  First graders, and much of the population in general it seems; are prone to very black and white thinking, and never consider the grey that is reality most of the time.  A dropped pencil immediately elicits cries of ‘somebody stole my pencil’, a child sitting and reading may be accused of taking the book of another despite the fact that the book he/she is holding is the one checked out by the reader, and so it goes.  Teaching that assumptions, jumping to conclusions and conjecture are often wrong is an ongoing process beginning in Kindergarten and continuing throughout life.

Cuyler’s whimsical narrative is animated, filled with motivating exclamations Osage first grade enjoys; WOW, PANT PANT, SSSSS, GLUG, SLOP, WHOOSH, ZZZZZ, PURRR, SLURP, YUCK,  OOOOO, BOO HOO, FLAP FLAP, to encourage Little Listener Readers to chime in as the story is read.

Osage County First Grade quickly grasps that each page is going to introduce a new set of oh good, no bad, however, the transition to life has yet to begin.

Writer Cuyler’s little boy and his misadventures are well portrayed by illustrator David Catrow’s droll and clever graphics depict the little boy’s sporadic respite and panic.

Child essential repetition, vivacious kid friendly illustrations and a jungle filled with capricious critters is one fun read for Osage County First Grade.

Writer Cuyler’s That’s Good! That’s Bad! is a magnificently ingenious and delightfully illustrated escapade crowded full of untamed critters as well as extraordinary state of affairs.  I like that children are introduced to the notion that everything does not necessarily turn out as first seemed, and that what may look like a disaster may well be a very good thing while what seems so positive at first blush may be anything but.

A real child pleaser, happy to recommend Margery Cuyler’s That’s Good! That’s Bad!

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