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Just in Case
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Just in Case

by Judith Viorst, Diana Cain Bluthenthal (Illustrator)

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Now in paperback for the first time, the story of Charlie, a kid who knows how to be ready for any situation…. Just in Case . If a downpour turns into a flash flood or the grocery store should close indefinitely, Charlie knows exactly what he’ll do. But as Charlie is about to discover, sometimes not being ready is even better than being prepared


Now in paperback for the first time, the story of Charlie, a kid who knows how to be ready for any situation…. Just in Case . If a downpour turns into a flash flood or the grocery store should close indefinitely, Charlie knows exactly what he’ll do. But as Charlie is about to discover, sometimes not being ready is even better than being prepared for everything.

She wants them. She needs them. She loves them. Earrings! What won’t a girl do to finally get her ears pierced? Find out in this delightful tale that perfectly captures the yearnings of a young girl in desperate need of beautiful, glorious earrings!

According to Olivia—who is practically perfect—her younger sister Sophie isn’t very neat. But she’s not just messy, either…. She’s Super-Completely and Totally the Messiest! Olivia’s family tries to show her that Sophie is plenty of things besides a slob, but Olivia is unconvinced. Pictures from Robin Preiss Glasser, illustrator of Fancy Nancy, make this book super-completely and totally fun!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Viorst's (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day) jaunty tale introduces an imaginative, somewhat anxious boy who prepares for nearly any contingency. "Charlie knows how to be ready. And Charlie likes to be ready, Just in case." Just in case it rains hard inside his house, he's ready with boots, slicker, umbrella and inflatable boat; just in case a bossy sitter arrives, he's "going to make her not glad" that she came, by washing his feet in the toilet and painting his face green. The scenarios become increasingly outlandish (he digs a pit as a trap in case a lion escapes from the zoo, and brings oars to the beach so he can row himself back to shore if a mermaid pulls him out to sea). In a satisfying about-face, Charlie awakens one day feeling sad that "the whole wide world forgot about his birthday"; when friends surprise him with gifts, he "isn't the slightest bit ready, But maybe not being ready is sometimes okay." Playful repetition and varying font sizes make for amusing emphasis, and a sly uncertainty as to whether any of these hypotheticals came to pass, add to the whimsy. Featuring an intriguing array of fabrics and textures, Bluthenthal's (I'm Not Invited?) mixed-media art comically chronicles the actual (or imagined) antics of Charlie and his omnipresent pooch. Ages 3-7. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Charlie worries an awful lot about what might happen in life. When it is raining outside, he fears it might rain so much that the house will flood and the furniture will float. Just in case, he dons his waterproof boots, goggles, and yellow rain hat and coat; opens up his special froggie umbrella; and spends the day waiting in his inflatable plastic boat. He worries, too, about what might happen if his favorite sitter is unable to keep an eye on him, the food stores close for a long time, or a lion gets loose and roams through the streets. To prepare for each potential emergency, he devises a plan to torment the replacement sitter, makes one hundred and seventeen peanut butter sandwiches, and starts to dig a pit that he plans to cover with leaves and use as a trap. Charlie is ready for just about everything—until he finds himself the special guest at a surprise birthday party thrown in his honor. He decides that, sometimes, not being ready is okay, too. Viorst captures well the imagination of a child who craves control over an unpredictable world and shows readers that the unexpected can leave us feeling just fine. The colorful and lively illustrations (completed in mixed media) fill each page and complement the changing emotions of young Charlie—from fearful to angry to wondering to surprised. A nice addition to any school or classroom library. 2006, Ginee Seo Books, Ages 5 to 8.
—Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-Viorst's talent for voicing childhood anxieties is evident once again. Charlie likes to be ready for any emergency, so he makes outlandish preparations for whatever might befall him. If someone "bossy and mean" instead of his favorite sitter comes, he'll make her "not glad" by "washing his feet in the toilet bowl" and "painting his face a most horrible shade of green." Just in case all the food stores close, he makes "a hundred and seventeen peanut-butter sandwiches" and stockpiles goodies for everyone in the family. Readers will enjoy his antics to protect himself from being swooped up by a bird on the way to school or escaping a mermaid who might grab his big toe. And they will relish the special surprise for which Charlie is completely unprepared. In full-page and vignette mixed-media cartoon illustrations, Bluthenthal depicts a determined kid, accompanied by his ever-faithful dog, as he goes about his preparations. One hilarious spread shows the boy outstretched in exhaustion after packing food to last "through to the middle of May." Along with Kevin Henkes's Wemberly Worried (HarperCollins, 2000) and Helen Lester's Something Might Happen (Houghton, 2003), this book offers some reassurance to readers preoccupied with their fears.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Charlie likes to be ready for any eventuality. In case a lion gets loose from the zoo, he has dug a leaf-covered pit in his backyard. In case a bird flying south is actually after him, he's wearing a helmet, carrying a sleeping bag and packing a parachute. In case a mermaid grabs his toe at the beach and tries to drag him out to sea to play, Charlie has a net, a snorkel and some oars. But there's one thing Charlie couldn't prepare for: his surprise birthday party. Surely, he decides, that is a case when not being ready is okay. Bluthenthal's mixed-media collage illustrations of a tow-headed Charlie, by turns mischievous, frightened and tickled, add personality to Viorst's Boy Scout-in-the-making. The trepidatious will find solace as they laugh at Charlie's over-active imagination and perfect preparedness. A worthy addition to Viorst's Alexander stories. (Picture book. 3-7)

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range:
3 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Judith Viorst was born and brought up in New Jersey, graduated from Rutgers University, moved to Greenwich Village, and has lived in Washington, DC, since 1960, when she married Milton Viorst, a political writer. They have three sons and seven grandchildren. A graduate in 1981 of the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst writes in many different areas: science books, children’s chapter and picture books—including the beloved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, which has sold some four million copies—adult fiction and nonfiction—including the New York Times bestseller, Necessary Losses—poetry for children and adults, and four musicals. Her most recent book of poetry for adults, Wait For Me and Other Poems About the Irritations and Consolations of a Long Marriage, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2015. Her most recent book of poetry for children, What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About? was published in 2016 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books.

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