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Gogo and the Upside Down Umbrella

What is a gogo? I used to wonder about the meaning as I drove down South Africa’s thoroughfares with newspaper billboards barking out the exploits or sufferings of the intriguingly mythical gogo. Often the circumstances of her / its doings appeared bizarre which added to my confusion. I knew it could not be the showgirl variety or the insect meaning: gogga. Gradually I guessed — old lady. Then Kathy Hill provided further enlightenment in her book Gogo and the Upside Down Umbrella. Gogo is a granny.

What is the best inspiration for a story? Where is the true font of creativity? When love merges with personal experience, beauty is conceived. Hill has provided a story reflecting her love for her grandchild and based upon a rain squall’s dramatic pounce during a stroll in the park.

The wind’s violent propulsion whisks Gogo and Q into another dimension through the umbrella’s assumption of a sudden aeronautical role. The resultant escapade introduces them to the raindrop family. This encounter is a happy social occasion during which the natural rain cycle is warmly explained in terms of human relationships. It ends as all sound tales for young children need to end. An unusual manner of returning home provides the assurance for the child who has been imaginatively adventuring with Gogo and Q.

The thrill of an unusual jaunt mingles with the warmth of love and homeliness in this brief tale. The imagination is stimulated but the adventure never becomes intimidating for a young child as the story is aimed at the 2-3 year olds. Children will identify easily with all the aspects of the tale which ought to become a favorite with repetition. Simple but expressive drawings add to the appeal and charm of the text.

If you are a two-year old, cuddle up with Gogo to hear this story. If you are a Gogo, express your granny love and order a copy, or call 0828233067.

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Review by Mr. Jeff Haschick.