Monday, May 07, 2007
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore
17 Things I'm Not Allowed to Do Anymore by Jenny Offill & Nancy Carpenter, 2006
This child's exploits are in the vein of The Wild Things' Max or Calvin of Calvin & Hobbes. She is a "dickens" and a "scamp" who unrepentantly goes her own way. She staples her brother's hair to his pillow, glues his slippers to the floor, substitutes her favorite animal, the beaver, for George Washington in her school report, treats her mother like a waitress, and gets in trouble with the crossing guard for walking backwards to school--to just name some of the 17 things she is not allowed to do anymore. After each incident, she is forbidden to use that tool or that perform that action again (stapler, glue, beavers, walking backward.) She just continues to go her own way though.
Even her "I'm sorry" to her mother on the final page is qualified by her inspiration "to say the opposite of what I mean to trick everyone."
Nancy Carpenter's pictures are a wonder. She incorporates photos of items like the stapler and glue bottle and embeds them with her drawings. The cover illustration is perfect for a story picture book, literally foreshadowing the action as we see the girl's mother's shadow, hands on hips, looming over a slyly grinning child.
The fun of this book lies in the fact that WE ALL know this child. In fact, the young lady I know could have modeled for Nancy Carpenter's illustrations. This is NOT a cautionary tale, except for folks in her path. To them we say, "Look Out!"