cover image No Swimming for Nelly

No Swimming for Nelly

Valeri Gorbachev. Holiday House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3780-1

Again demonstrating his flair for creating endearing animal characters, Gorbachev (Pizza-Pie Snowman) gives a perennial picture-book motif a sweet tweak in this story starring an obstinate piglet. Tickled when her mother buys her a swimsuit—a polka-dotted, skirted number with puffy bloomers—Nelly beams with approval as she models it in front of the mirror. Her variable facial expressions comically convey her mood swings; smiling widely, she prances onto the beach, but she comes to a sudden halt at the water’s edge, announcing, “No swimming for me.” Gorbachev’s loose, pen-and-ink and watercolor pictures provide a high-spirited contrast between Nelly’s disdain for swimming and her fondness for her suit, which she wears for all occasions, day (biking, playing basketball) and night (dining at a fancy restaurant, sleeping). The story gains an additional dimension when Nelly and her mother visit Grandma, who has a collection of swimming trophies and knows just how to convince Nelly to put her new garment to proper use. This is a gentle, winsome tale about the rewards of well-placed trust and braving the unknown. Ages 4–8. (June)