Early Book Review: Johnny by Guido van Genechten

Johnny is a picturebook written and illustrated by Guido van Genechten. It is currently scheduled for release in English on June 1 2018, but was previously published in Dutch.  Johnny is a very sweet spider, but nobody knows it. Because everywhere Johnny goes, the other insects run screaming out the door without giving him a chance. Filled with humor and heart, this book will show young readers the importance of not judging someone by appearances. A book filled with humor and heart for spider lovers ages 3 and up.

Johnny is a sad spider. He just wants to be friends, and share his birthday cake but the insects he asks are too afraid to look past his appearance, and that he is a spider that in nature might be interested in snacking on them, to trust him. I can understand their reluctance, they do not want to be lunch, but their words and actions are hurtful to Johnny who is just trying to be nice. I think this book could be a great discussion starter about why we should give people a chance, and not judging others based on things they have no control over, like appearance. However, I think it might be better learned when the characters are not likely to actually eat each other in the real world- or at least have a reasonable substitution plan. Spiders need to eat insects (or bigger stuff depending on the spider) and I think most spider lovers are well aware of the nature of spiders.

The artwork is cute and charming, and does a good job of capturing Johnny's emotions and still being fun. I think Johnny is a good, fun picturebook but not one that blew me away. 

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