Empathy Empathy Empathy, we go on about the importance of it in children’s books because it just is! Although we may be social distancing currently, having conversations with children about consent, in particular when it comes to physical contact is incredibly important. Children don’t always have the empathy to understand the concept of respecting boundaries and permission asking or giving, so a picture book that addresses this in a bright, colourful and engaging way is just what’s needed. Oh No Bobo! written by Donna David, illustrated by Laura Watkins and published by Quarto does exactly that.
Bobo is on the look out for somewhere warm and comfy to sleep, so he sets off in search of the perfect spot. With lots of soft and fluffy animals living in his jungle, he forgets his manners and tries to help himself to the parrots feathers, the slow loris’s soft fur and even the squirrel’s silky smooth tail. All the animals ask Bobo not to touch their feathers and fur, but he doesn’t listen to them and learns the hard way with squarks, bites and even smelly bums.
When you read the above description, it seems that Oh No Bobo! is a comical and entertaining read, and it absolutely is! It’s fun, full of character and a well written story that children will really enjoy. However, there is a much more important aspect to this story that makes it worth the read. Bobo doesn’t ask for permission before interacting with each animal, but he also does not listen when they clearly say “no!”. This allows for many discussion points with children about what Bobo may be doing wrong, and how he can change his behaviour.
Donna’s writing in this picture book strikes the perfect balance between comical, entertainment and clarity in the language and storytelling, making it abundantly clear what’s happening in this tale. It’s really nicely done. At the end of the book is a page of discussion points and guidance for parents on how to use the book to explain about consent, and also just for enjoyment with a little craft activity. I do love it when books have this additional content.
Laura’s illustrations are just gorgeous. Bobo is cheeky looking, but appealing and the colour palettes are so vibrant that nighttime feel in a rich tropical jungle is just fabulous. There is loads of detail, texture and character, making it a book I’m sure children will want to return to.
Oh No Bobo! is a story about consent, politeness and respecting others’ personal space, making sure others’ respect yours, but it is also about listening, hearing and responding. All incredibly important skills for young children to learn. This is a picture book for bedtime reading, it will make children smile, it will attract them visually, but it will also teach them along the way, and that is a rather wonderful combination don’t you think?
Oh No Bobo! is available now from all good bookshops and libraries.
To find out more about Quarto publishing please visit their website:
Thank you for reading this BookMonster review.
Due to the current lockdown this review is based on a PDF copy of the story and will update the review once I am able to access my physical copy.