Charlie is a boy who is always ready for anything..."just in case." What if it's raining very hard -- so hard that rain could come into the house and make the furniture float? Charlie has a plan to keep himself dry..."just in case." What if his parents are going out and he gets a babysitter who won't read to him or let him watch TV? Charlie has a plan for making his own fun..."just in case." Charlie likes to be ready for anything. But as Charlie is about to find out, sometimes "not" being ready is even better.
Charlie likes to be ready for any eventuality. In case a lion gets loose from the zoo, he's dug a leaf-covered pit in his back yard. In case a bird flying south is actually after him, he's wearing a helmet, carrying a sleeping bag and packing a parachute. In case a mermaid grabs his toe at the beach and tries to drag him out to sea to play, Charlie has a net, a snorkel and some oars. But there's one thing Charlie couldn't prepare for: his surprise birthday party. Surely, he decides, that is a case when not being ready is okay. Bluthenthal's mixed-media collage illustrations of a tow-headed Charlie by turns mischievous, frightened and tickled add personality to Viorst's Boy Scout-in-the-making. Scared readers will find solace as they laugh at Charlie's over-active imagination and perfect preparedness. A worthy addition to Viorst's Alexander stories. (Picture book. 3-7) (Kirkus Reviews)