Book of the Week: Fortunately

June 10, 2013

Fortunately by Remy Charlip

Images and text by Carter.

It might not surprise you that I like to pepper my classic favorites with some all out kook and quirk. And this book by Remy Charlip, Fortunately, makes hilarity squeak out of my toenails. It’s that much fun. Remy Charlip was a tap dancer, and something about those syncopated beats must have been pulsing in his brain when he wrote this book. Its punchy crescendoes and dramatic page turns are a riot!

And is there anything more darling than a hapless little main character whose name is Ned?! When Fortunately was published in 1964, Ned was nowhere near the most popular of baby names, so I love that his identity is already a bit offbeat. The story opens just like this: Fortunately, one day, Ned got a letter that said “Please Come to a Surprise Party.” The spread is bright and colorful and full of promise. But turn the page, and it reads, But unfortunately the party was in Florida and he was in New York. And all of that vibrancy? Faded to black and white.

Ned’s story carries on in a frenzy of escalating chaos and the most satisfying of arcs. And where Ned ends up just might surprise you!

Fortunately by Remy Charlip

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maggie June 10, 2013 at 7:32 am

I have an original copy that my oldest brother got in 1964 (orange cover) that I loved to read as a child, and now my 4-year-old loves me to read it to him. It’s fast, fun and funny!

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2 Carter Higgins June 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm

So jealous! What a fun (and funny) legacy!

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3 Emily June 10, 2013 at 7:37 am

We love this book in our house-both for the amazing illustrations and for the funny/crazy world of opposites it lays out. What a fun book to read to teach a child what “fortunately” means and what a funny side effect–that you’ll then have a toddler out in the world saying fortunately and unfortunately. Great book, quick read, funny for parents and kids.

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4 Susan halko June 10, 2013 at 8:52 am

Yes! I love this book. I did not know that the author also tap-danced! I will share his with my tap-dancing critique group member. Thanks!

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5 Lucy Mitchell June 10, 2013 at 10:20 am

Have you ever seen his book Thirteen? He wrote it with Jerry Joyner but I have not been able to my hands on a copy. I think one of them would do an illustration and the other did one in response. Sort of like a conversation in pictures? I think. Yes, I LOVE fortunately and so has anyone I have ever read it aloud to.

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6 Carter Higgins June 10, 2013 at 12:23 pm

No! I smell a treasure hunt!

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7 LoriM June 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm

This looks lovely – I love childrens’ books from this era.

Perhaps you know this, but Ned was a popular nickname for Edward – which I think was quite popular at the time. It feels like nicknames of this type for boys have dwindled out, don’t you think?

Cheers!

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8 Bre June 10, 2013 at 8:20 pm

I loooovvee this book and so do my kids. What a classically optimistic story, right? A lesson to all :)

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9 Laura June 10, 2013 at 9:01 pm

When I was in sixth grade, we had to write our own “Fortunately, Unfortunately” stories, and I loved the exercise so much that when I taught a book arts class to kids recently, I used this book and that exercise as a prompt. It yields such funny, inventive juxtapositions! (And reminds you to focus on good things, too, even in the midst of an onslaught of misfortunes!

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10 Design Mom June 11, 2013 at 5:44 am

What a fun classroom exercise, Laura! I’ll have to remember that for a rainy summer day.

And I love this post, Carter! Thank you for the write up.

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11 Julie June 11, 2013 at 7:03 am

Thnaks, Carter, I don’t know this one. Hope I can find it!

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12 Susan June 12, 2013 at 6:18 pm

Thank you so much for posting this! I remember reading it when I was little and absolutely loving it. I had it memorized. Off to get it for my own children….

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13 elle patton June 17, 2013 at 10:16 am

I love this book. We had it growing up. :)

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14 Sally July 3, 2013 at 6:53 pm

We have this exact book but it is call Good Luck. I didn’t realise they did it with two different titles, maybe one is british and one is American. Such beautiful illustrations.

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