‘Unfortunately’ is kind of a strange title for a children’s book, but, fortunately, it makes complete sense once you get into this almost-comic-like, madcap, rollercoaster adventure. The unnamed protagonist (a boy) in the story is walking happily through the jungle when he encounters a harrowing situation — pre-announced with the word ‘unfortunately‘ in bold (which would be accompanied by the ominous sound effect ‘den! den! den!’ if it were made into an animation).
Fortunately for him, he manages to escape — only to almost immediately get himself into another unfortunate situation. Thus, this pattern of unfortunate-fortunate encounters continues until the wacky tale comes to a surprising — and very funny — abrupt end.
There’s never a dull moment in this highly entertaining book as the plot twists with every turn of the page. The text is also kept very succinct, so the reader can focus on all the action in the brightly coloured graphical/cartoony illustrations. And of course, it’s a great way to help kids understand the meaning of the words ‘fortunately’ and ‘unfortunately’.
Note: If you liked this book, check out Fortunately by Remy Charlip, which was published much earlier, in 1964, and to which this book most definitely owes a huge debt for its entire concept. Thankfully, however, Unfortunately does manage to put a fresh spin on it with its striking illustrations and creative page layouts, so it does stand on its own.