John Patrick Norman McHennessy: The Boy Who Was Always Late
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John Patrick Norman McHennessy: The Boy Who Was Always Late

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  95 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Every day John Patrick Norman McHennessy sets off along the road to learn, and every day strange and improbable happenings make him late.To make things worse, his teacher, Sir, never believes his stories.One day, John Patrick Norman McHennessy is able to make it on time and finds that an improbable and strange thing has happened to Sir.Just how the tables are turned provid...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 8th 2008 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1987)
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Author: John Burningham

Genre: Fictional picture book

Publication Info: Crown Publishers, Inc (1987)

Reading Level: Transitional

Topic/Theme: Honesty/ Trust/ self-deception

Issues Addressed: Strange things do occur, you just have to choose whether or not to believe them.

Classroom Uses: Shared Reading, Readers Theatre.

Summary: John (long name) is walking to school and a lot of strange things happen. He encounters lions, hairy gorillas, crocodiles, and tidle waves on his way to school. His teacher d...more
Abbie Baines
Everyday John Patrick Norman McHennessy “sets off on the road to learn” but he is delayed. Not because he left something behind or he missed the bus, no, because he comes across the wildest of situations. A crocodile jumps up from the drain, a tidal wave washes him clean off the bridge! How could all these things happen to one boy! The more they happen the more in trouble he gets in. But one day it all changes.

A wonderful story with beautiful illustrations, perfect for KS1 children who want to...more
Talk about calamitous adventures on the way to school! Little JPNM is certainly plagued with them -- a crocodile coming out of the gutter drain, a lion hiding in the grass, a tidal wave washing over the bridge. He gets in trouble with his teacher, until one day when the tables are turned and the teacher is captured by a giant ape.

Well, this dilemma may not resonate with the pre-school crowd and the humor is a bit "Brit" (as is the author/illustrator). With a little bit of tweaking a savvy story...more
This is a picture book about a boy named John Patrick Norman McHennessy. John keeps having out of the ordinary things happen to him as he "sets off along the road to learn" that cause him to be late. He has an encounter with a crocodile, a lion, and a tidal wave. Each time "Sir" (his teacher) thinks he's lying, tells John there was no such thing, and punnishes him. At the end, Sir has an encounter with a gorilla and askes John for help. John tells Sir there's no such thing and goes on about his...more
Anna Harris
This is a story about a young boy called John Patrick Norman McHennessy. Every day he tries to get to school on time, but is always late – through no fault of his own. Unfortunately, his school teacher doesn’t believe him, and punishes him by making him write lines for telling lies.
This is an amusing picture story, which will be enjoyed by younger children. John Burningham writes in a very simple and effective way – the story is easy to follow, and easy to relate to; I’m sure many of us can rec...more
Boy with extremely long name is always late but for good reason. Be it tidal wave, a lion, or crocodile John Patrick Norman McHennessy's teacher seems never to believe them though and puts the poor boy to menial tasks like writing hundreds of sentences or standing in the corner for punishment. It's no wonder that when something rather improbable happens to the teacher himself, John Patrick Norman McHennessy does not come to aid. Serves him right. I appreciate older picture books where justice is...more
I usually like every single one of John Burningham's numerous, quirky books and this one was no exception. Made my think of Dr. Seuss's classic And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, although with simpler plot ...
2.5 stars. Interesting, very arty, pictures. John always has problems with extraordinary animals and natural disasters on his way to school but his school master never believes him. Until the tables turn. I had fonder memories of this book than I do on re-reading it.
Young Lightning in Dark Sky
I would say that the illustrations and, well, I suppose it could be one form of reverse psychology, the revolt towards the unrighteous authority made it very enjoyable from a rebellious child's perspective..

hehe, recommended for adults who think they are all that.
As the title states, John Patrick Norman McHennessy IS always late to school, but unlike most children he has some very good, very real excuses, much to the disbelief of his pragmatic teacher. This is a classic tale, I remember loving as a child.
The children really like this one, though I suspect it's mainly for my school teacher and pink-floyd-esque school child voice. The actual moral is somewhat ambiguously swayed in the anti-public-school teacher direction.
clever story about a boy who is late to school for reasons that seem impossible...lion jumping out of the woods...tidal wave. teacher punishes him and then in the end, the teacher is tied up by a gorilla.
'Think this would make a great read-aloud with older students about treating others appropriately and fairly and about what someone learns from our actions
John Burningham's humor shines in this picture book. Illustrations are his typical style, and perfect for the tone and wit of the book.
Of course there are always reasons for being late, but how unfortunate to arrive on time and miss the fun of the journey.
Mariah Smith
The perfect children's picture book to accompany Pink Floyd's The Wall album.
Emma (Miss Print)
I'm glad John was vindicated in the end but the teacher was a bit vicious.
Sometimes we should believe the excuses our kids give us. :)
Wendy Swain
A very cute book that could lead to great discussions.
Liz Schuster
Jun 07, 2009 Liz Schuster rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: not the faint of heart, in the least bit.....
Recommended to Liz by: mommy dearest
Shelves: chiluns-books
Creepiest book ever--almost... Must Read!!
What a strange and genius book.
Amelia Hillard
i thoght that it was great
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Married to Helen Oxenbury They have one son and two daughters.

John Burningham was born in 1936 in Farnham, Surrey, and attended the alternative school, Summerhill. In 1954 he spent two years travelling through Italy, Yugoslavia and Israel, working at a variety of jobs.

From 1956-1959, he studied at the Central School of Art, after which he designed posters fo...more
More about John Burningham...
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