Babysitting. That is what led to Percival Everett's decision to write a young children's book. At least that's what he said back in the 2003 interview with the EWN. That's about when this review was originally written and distributed to the EWN too.
The One That Got Away
1992 by Clarion Books, 32 pages
The cover of this children's book points us toward what is inside as the One in the title is highlighted by being a different color than the rest of the words in the title. The One that got away, is literally that, a number one.
Percival Everett, fond of wordplay and the need to be specific in one's use of language in his adult novels, teaches children this lesson early on with this book and Dirk Zimmer's illustrations have enough going on in the background to keep them entertained as well.
There are often other numbers skirting the edges of the
pages, hiding behind rocks, and the like, but Everett is clear that
It is a pleasure to find a children's book about language and the usage of it, as opposed to a moral or social message. To find it done in such an entertaining little story is even better. I tested it out with my six and three year olds and I'm going to be in a world of trouble when I take it back to the library - they love it and we've read it about 70 times since I checked it out.
The ending, when the riders go back to the corral, finds them talking about the Ones they have left. We have eight, one of them says. What do you think they found in the corral when they returned? If you have a young child, this is a great way to help explain to them how important it is to say what you mean.