Tuesday, March 13, 2007


17 THINGS I'M NOT ALLOWED TO DO ANYMORE by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter (Schwartz & Wade)
"I had an idea to staple my brother's hair to his pillow. I am not allowed to use the stapler anymore." "I had an idea to show Joey Whipple my underpants. I am not allowed to show Joey Whipple my underpants anymore." I have a queue of books I can't wait to tell you about, but this title got serious "budgies" because the figurative drawing is just off. The. Charts. This book is SO beautiful and SO funny, it crossed my eyes. Unbeliavably expressive and clever, a meeting of the grace of early Jan Ormerod with the ebullient spunk of a grammatical Junie B. Jones and a computer collage technique that brings Ezra Jack Keats' influence into the 21st century with a rip-roaring kaboom, this book is irreverent and unrepentant and freakishly perfect from a child's POV. We're hardly out of the gate for 2007, and already this is the one to beat, folks...from the glossy white glue being spilled on the cover to interiors containing guest check backdrops ("I had an idea to order a different dinner from my mother. I am not allowed to pretend my mother is a waitress anymore") to an old-school American Sign Language diagram that suggests perhaps our little mischief maker is not actually hard of hearing, just hard of listening. If you are a fan of David Shannon's classic Caldecott winner NO, DAVID!, kick it up a notch. If you dare.

Speaking of, David Shannon really rocked the house...or the boat...in swashbuckling style, as a visiting author at my school last week! He was promoting his latest collaboration with Melinda Long,
Yes, David, we love you!

Also of interest:
Keep an eye on Nancy Carpenter, this truly versatile artist has long been an illustrator to watch! I first fell in love with her illustrations after reading Deborah Hopkinson's APPLES TO OREGON: BEING THE (SLIGHTLY) TRUE NARRATIVE OF HOW A BRAVE PIONEER FATHER BROUGHT APPLES, PEACHES, PEARS, PLUMS, GRAPES AND CHERRIES (AND CHILDREN) ACROSS THE PLAINS. The high-stepping story follows a large family from Iowa to Oregon, where an industrious daddy is determined to cut a trail and plant an orchard of fruit trees, come wind or high water (and believe me, there's plenty of both). Inspired by the travels of Henderson Luelling's shlep with his eight children and wife and some seven hundred plants, this tallish tale comes to spunky life with the help of the jolly little girl who serves as narrator. Though many came West in search of gold, this family ascertains that apples may be better…and with the close of this book, you just might agree. (5 and up)

Links are provided for informational use. Don't forget to support your local bookseller.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning APPLES. I'm also a big fan of Nancy's work, and she also illustrated my book, FANNIE IN THE KITCHEN. I've posted lesson plans to both on my website, www.deborahhopkinson.com

PS Great review of A DROWNED MAIDEN's HAIR! I love this book and just read it twice in a row.

The Buried Editor said...

I have been dying to see 17 things, but the publisher is backordered, and we just can't get any into the store I work at yet. I am so sad. Every review I read just glows about it. I am so jealous!

Unknown said...

I know a whole batch of parents who are leery of reading 17 Things... to their kids lest the kids get ideas. Usually I pooh-pooh such stuff, but the stapler thing, I don't know, I would totally do that if I were 5 and my brother were 3.

That being said, I agree, the illustrations are off the charts, and I LOVE the book.

Wouldn't you like to see a grownup version? In which drunk young women aren't allowed to use their cell phones and my husband isn't allowed to go to Costco by himself?


Related Posts with Thumbnails