May 29, 2015

Swimming, Swimming

by Gary Clement
Groundwood Books
48 pp.
Ages 4-7
April 2015

It's summer and a boy who is obviously obsessed with swimming (note the posters hanging on the blue water walls of his room, his t-shirts, and the goggles and flippers on the floor) is just getting up, getting dressed, packing his backpack and meeting his friends. Any guesses where they’re heading?  Yep, it’s summer so it’s the local swimming pool.

And once they’re changed and pre-showered and on the deck of the massive outdoor pool, it’s time for the Swimming, Swimming song.  What? You don't know the camp song “Swimming, swimming, in a swimming pool?” No worries.  Gary Clement will take you along for a colourful and quirky illustrated rendition of the song, and even share with you, via video (which I've also shared below), the gestures that go with it.  Ready?  Sing!
Swimming, swimming
In a swimming pool.
When days are hot
When days are cold
In a swimming pool.
Fancing diving too!
Oh don’t you wish you never had anything else to do?
From the boy and his friends, to moms and dads with little ones, swimmers with balls, flutterboards, an innertube or waterwings, everyone is getting into Swimming, Swimming.  I defy you to not find yourself amongst the goggled, sunglassed, gotteed, bearded and clean-shaven, bikini- and tankini-ed, full-suited and trunked floaters and active swimmers at the swimming pool.  Gary Clement has included everyone!  And when the day is done and they leave the community pool, stopping at the Mister Ice Cream truck before heading home for dinner, the boy ends the day tending to a small orange swimmer for whom he is responsible, before he’s in bed resting so he'll be ready for another day of Swimming, Swimming in a swimming pool.

Many Canadian readers will be familiar with Gary Clement’s political cartoons in the National Post but I believe that his illustrations have that originality and funniness that are the heart of great humourous picture books.  Obviously others think so as well, since Gary Clement did win a Governor General’s Award for Illustration for his book The Great Poochini (Groundwood Books, 2010).  Just like his loveable relatives in Oy Fey So? (Cary Fagan, Groundwood Books, 2013), Gary Clement’s very real characters who are less-than-perfect-morphologically steal the story, again bringing all readers into the book, whether they want to go swimming or not. (And, for reference, the endpapers will show you the different strokes!)

(BTW, thanks, Gary Clement, for keeping the Speedo-ed strutter out of the community pool!)

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Swimming, Swimming Sing Along

Uploaded by House of Anansi on April 27, 2015 to YouTube.

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