Cannonball by Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan

Published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Cannonball: Cotter, Sacha, Morgan, Josh: 9781728217567: ...

Cannonball: Cotter, Sacha, Morgan, Josh: 9781728217567: ...

Summary:  A young boy dreams of doing a cannonball off the diving board, but his attempts find him clinging fearfully to the diving board or entering the water with barely a splash.  He gets lots of advice from friends and family (“More weight.  More height.  More hair.  Bigger shorts”), but nothing seems to work.  Finally, everyone gives up on him except for his Nan, who knows he can do the perfect cannonball if he listens to his own heart and mind.  Encouraged, the boy finds his own way to do his clothing, hair, and makeup before climbing onto the diving board once again.  Not surprisingly, this time he meets with success and a gigantic splash.  Includes a glossary with four diving terms and two Maori words.  40 pages; ages 3-7.

Pros:  A fun summertime read with a message about being yourself and listening to your own inner voice.  The illustrations are bright and colorful.  Nan is a superstar.

Cons:  Other than the glossary and a tiny note on the verso page that this was originally published in New Zealand, there was no reference to the Maori culture.  I had to read reviews to learn that the characters in the story are Maori.  Since this is a culture likely to be unfamiliar to American readers, it would have been nice to have an introductory note, somewhere.

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