17 Things

17 Things i’m not allowed to do anymore by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter

Random House/Schwartz & Wade; December 2006; 32 pp; $15.99 HC

978-0375835964

Core Audience: Children 5-8; Adults who remember being less-than-perfect

Strengths: Engaging art; Funny, funny, funny

This book is an ode to every sassy girl who has ever lived. (I am one of those sassy girls, and I bet many of you are as well.) It is a laugh-out-loud litany of one troublesome idea after another and the consequence is always the same… “I am not allowed to (insert idea here) anymore.”

From gluing her brother’s bunny slippers to the floor, to setting Joey Whipple’s shoes on fire with the sun and a magnifying glass, to a reoccurring obsession with beavers, to my favorite—giving her brother the “gift of cauliflower” [by flinging it off his forehead with a fork], the heroine of this picture book is irrepressible.

The artwork in the book is just as lively, with a wonderful combination of pen and ink illustration, collage, and mixed media. It spills across the page with great exuberance, and does an excellent job of working with the text to give you the full flavor of its spirited protagonist.

There are many books about behaving badly, but it is much rarer to find one that celebrates the individual with as much warmth and humor as this one.

Because of the weird 12/26/06 release date, I hope this book doesn’t fall through the cracks and get lost in the shuffle for awards and recognition.

It’s a gem.

Rated: 9.5

Booksense.com

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