Look Out For Barb! – Jump! By Guy Porfirio. Book Review.


Click on the cover to buy a copy of Jump!

This is Guy Porfirio’s first book as both writer and illustrator. As soon as you open the book it is apparent that Porfirio has a talent for remarkable illustrations. The double page spread on the inside cover is a collection of pencil sketches probably used when planning this picture book. They are action-packed and humorous, as is the rest of the book.

The book opens with a double page spread of the desert filled with cacti and a distant coyote. The text reads, “Ordinarily, things are pretty quiet in the desert. But this was no ordinary morning. And Barb was no ordinary cactus. Barb, you see, wanted an adventure.”

Right away, we know something new and exciting is going to happen and we suspect the coyote will be involved. Barb jumps onto the passing coyote who flings her through the air where she lands on a man’s jeans. It continues with a ride in an eagle’s talons, the popping of a river raft, a roof luggage rack ride, perched on top of a motorcycle helmet, on a balloon and on and on around mainland United States. Eventually, Barb misses her friends and hitches a ride on “the very next cowboy home.” She regales her friends with her adventures. Soon everyone is following her example and cacti are popping up everywhere.

This is a humorous book with impressive illustrations. The reader enjoys following Barb’s wild adventures. One page was especially cool where Porfirio divided the double page spread into six slices and wrote and illustrated, “She boarded, boated, bulldozed, bobbed, bicycled, and bounced.” A lovely page of alliteration.

Without using overly difficult words, Porfirio enriches the text in clever little ways. Another example is when we read, “And Barb got a little carried away at the Museum of art.” The words have a double meaning since Barb is floating away on the string of a balloon.

Although it was adventurous for Barb, I think the story could have been more suspenseful for the reader if, at one point, we felt she was in danger. However, it was the author’s choice to keep the story sweet and fun.

After reading this to a child or class, a discussion about trying new things and taking reasonable risks could follow. And of course, researching jumping cactus, which don’t really jump but hook in painfully should you go too near.

This was a really fun book to share with my granddaughter. We loved Barb and wanted her to have the trip of a lifetime, which she certainly did.


A print copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.

The author will be interviewed on this blog on April 19, 2017.

Bonnie Ferrante: Books For All Ages


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