113. “Just in case” by Judith Viorst


A phrase “just in case” has a special anecdotical meaning in our family. Every time I want my son to wear his jacket on a cold day and he doesn’t, he suggest a compromise: he won’t wear it but I can carry it in my bag, “just in case”.  No wonder, when I spotted “Just in case” in the library I wanted us to read it. Does anyone else like to plan things and be prepared for the unpredictable?

Charlie does. Whenever it rains, he puts on waterproof clothing and goggles, just in case his house gets flooded. He made hundreds of sandwiches, which he packed in boxes, just case the grocery stores stay closed for a long time. He started digging up a pit, or a lion trap, just in case a roaring beast escapes from the ZOO. He carries a parachute with him just in case birds kidnap him and then decide to drop him in a nest and he chooses not to stay. And of course, he doesn’t go to the beach without a net. What if needs to catch a mermaid? But despite of his always-ready attitude, Charlie fails to prepare for his birthday surprise! What is he going to do now?

Well, although certain personality traits can’t be changed, sometimes, getting outside of our comfort zones can be very enriching, even though it comes with fear and pain. We want to be in control, but sometimes embracing the unexpected can open lots of new doors.
Oh, My, if I hadn’t done the things I’d been afraid to do, I would have missed so much! My life would have to be rewritten and it would surely fit on one page!

Coming back to the book, “Just in case” is not what I would call a gem of the children’s literature.  It is rather one of those books about which I say: someone had a good idea, but then something went wrong in the process… Basically, it is written horribly. Reading it feels like riding on a bumpy road. I even wonder how it got published, considering the ruthless MS submission process… But on a good note, the illustrations by Diana Cain Bluthenthal are amusing and engaging, so if we kept the visual and someone rewrote the text, then we would arrive at a really cute picture book, which proves that no matter how much we want to plan our lives, there is always room for surprises. And that’s the beauty of living.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Nonstepmom
    Oct 06, 2011 @ 17:18:40

    We are fans of “Alexander & the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. (And I am ready to move to Australia!)

    Reply

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