Tuesday, February 26, 2008

17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter - review

This is one of my favorite picture books ever. It's called 17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore, by Jenny Offill and Nancy Carpenter (both Brooklynites, ha, yeah, I knew it). I love the illustration style. Nancy Carpenter draws kind of like a messy Robert McCloskey, and her collage elements are surprising and good and not overdone. Plus, you have to love this kid! She is inventive and dopey at the same time, and her expressions are perfect. And she's totally wearing Christopher Robin's boots.

I had an idea to staple my brother's hair to the pillow.
I'm not allowed to use the stapler anymore.

I love the picture of the little boy wandering around with the pillow still attached to his head. It's kind of sad and really funny at the same time. That's the "poor little cute little bastard" feeling you get when you see your kid, say, eat something he doesn't like and make a face.

I wasn't sure about reading this book to those perfect leetle angel kids of mine, and most of my mom friends (and Mr. Librarian) felt the same way. That stapler thing just sounds too fun. But I did read it to them, with no ill effects. They understand humor when they see it - they watch Speed Racer and so far haven't stowed away in the trunk of the Civic when I leave to go to work.

I did think that this might make a nice gift for someone who had recently acted on a particularly bad idea: the drunk dialer, the impulsive job-quitter. But now I think that Mo Willems should write a pigeon book on the premise of this book: "17 things the pigeon isn't allowed to do anymore". He could put together all the kid suggestions he gets in his fan mail.

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