I Didn't Do My Homework Because...
By Davide Cali , illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
IN THE TEACHER STORE
Gr 2â5âThis book consists of a list of excuses-entertaining, amusing, and implausible-for the absence of a boy's homework. The child's conflicts are familiar yet fresh: "A rebellious robot destroyed our house" and "We had a problem with carnivorous plants." Although there may be a slightly predictable feeling to the list, there is a surprising punch line at the end, which lends vibrancy to the tale. The Edward Gorey-style illustrations in pen, ink, and muted colors give the book a vintage charm. The giant lizards are reminiscent of Maurice Sendak's Wild Things. Each page is packed with overlapping images and detail, all in miniature, which will encourage careful observation and conversation. Cartoon lovers may be attracted to the whimsical alligator and dog on the cover. The diminutive size of the book and tiny illustrations make it most appropriate for individual reading, particularly for children who enjoy lingering on a page. The illustrator's humor is subtle, conveyed through meticulous sketches. Each page provides a small mystery as children try to find the missing homework among scenes of unfolding catastrophe. For example, a lizard's tongue stretches through the air like a giant slide on a playground; at the end of this bright red tongue is the book the boy was supposed to read. This well-crafted book should find an appreciative audience.âJess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY