Written and Illustrated by: Remy Charlip
Recommended Ages: 4-8
If you are looking for a book to give a five to seven year old child, then look no further. Fortunately is a great choice, and chances are the child that you are looking for won't have it, as it's a bit obscure. It was originally published in the late 1950's, went out of print briefly, was reissued in 1969 as What Good Luck! What Bad Luck!, and finally came back as Fortunately in 1993. Luckily for us, it seems here to stay.
Fortunately is the story of Ned who, through a series of fortunate and unfortunate incidents, makes his way to a party throughout the 48 page book. It begins like this:
"Fortunately one day, Ned got a letter that said "Please come to a surprise party."
But unfortunately the party was in Florida and he was in New York.
Fortunately, a friend loaned him an airplane.
Unfortunately, the motor exploded."
You get the idea.
It's a little old-fashioned, and probably not particularly "pc." But life is full of ups and downs, and Fortunately does a good job presenting that in an age appropriate manner. The illustrations are simple, yet effective, as they alternate between color and black and white. They add to the story, but really it's the words that are so effective. Fortunately teaches the meaning of fortunately and unfortunately to young children, and shows Ned problem solving his way out of some incredible situations. Finally, don't be surprised if you hear your kids using the words fortunately and unfortunately on a regular basis after a few readings. It's pretty catchy.
BookNosher Activity: This would be a great book for a first or second grade class to read aloud, and then practice their own version of "fortunately/unfortunately." The class could go around in a circle, with one child saying a fortunately sentence, and the next one following up with an unfortunately sentence. Or, slightly older kids could write and illustrate their own "Fortunately/Unfortunately" book.