Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Review - Oh No, Bobo!

Oh No, Bobo!
by Donna David
illustrated by Laura Watkins
Date: 2020
Publisher: QEB Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 24
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Join Bobo the Orangutan on his quest to find the perfect pillow and ensure a good night’s sleep.

Bobo is sure one of his jungle friends will be able to help. He plucks a feather here and a tuft of hair there but only causes upset! Bobo is left despondent and still without a pillow. But when Elsie the elephant enthusiastically strokes Bobo and wraps him up in her trunk in an effort to play, Bobo gets very upset indeed. Will Bobo and Elsie both learn an important lesson about asking permission?

Beautifully illustrated, QEB’s Storytime series introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories. Featuring charming animal and human characters, the books explore important social and emotional themes like friendship, gratitude, perseverance, and overcoming fears. A Next Steps page at the back provides guidance for parents and teachers.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book is supposed to teach about the concept of consent (which is good), but the actual message that's conveyed is a bit muddled (which is not so good).

Bobo the orangutan wants a pillow so he can sleep. So he moves through the jungle, touching various animals. Each animal tells Bobo not to touch, but Bobo ignores them and pulls out feathers or fur with which to build his pillow (which results in understandable retaliation from the various creatures). Eventually, he encounters some elephants, and one of them uses him as a pillow! He learns that it's important to ask for permission before touching someone else, and he goes home to his mother to ask for a hug.

While a message about consent is okay, it's confusing here. Bobo doesn't listen to any of the animals when they tell him to stop touching. So the message to ask for permission doesn't seem like quite enough. It wasn't that he wasn't asking permission... it was that he wasn't respecting the other animals' wishes when they told him to stop. (If he had asked permission and the animals had said no, I got the feeling that he would've just touched them anyway.)

With a muddled message like this, I'd be hesitant to recommend it to kids. Adults will need to clarify the message. You need to ask permission and respect the answer if it's no.

There's a small section at the back for adults which seems a bit insulting. I'm sure educators don't need to be told how to teach kids to build a simple paper-bag puppet. More often than not, I find these parent/teacher notes at the end to be a waste of space.

Thank you to NetGalley and QEB Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2.67 out of 5

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