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Now What Can I Do? Hardcover – July 1, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 and up
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 7
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1ST edition (July 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1587170469
  • ISBN-13: 978-1587170461
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 9 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,703,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Two gray raccoons make the best of a rainy day in this call-and-response book by Bridges and Sweet (previously paired for Will You Take Care of Me?). When a child raccoon repeats the titular question, wondering how to pass the time, its mother says, "Well, we can start by making your bed." "Oh, Mommy that's not fun," protests the child. "But it can be... if your bed is a boat!" the mother replies. A wordless, full-page image shows the youngster sailing; fun and chores are not mutually exclusive. The mother then suggests a Wild West roundup ("Your toys are a herd of cattle grazing on the prairie") and a laundry expedition ("You dig deep enough to find fossils... or the oldest sock!"). This familiar repetitive formula effectively sets up tensions between a knowing mother and a skeptical child, real life and exuberant fantasy. Sweet creates cozy acrylic paintings with a rainbow-ice-cream palette, crayon scribbles and torn paper; the raccoons lock eyes and smile warmly at each other. Bridges's text, composed entirely of dialogue, appears in two typefaces that distinguish the speakers. In the end, the cooperative child asks all the questions and the patient parent gives all the answers. But if this game of let's-pretend is one-sided, it's also full of ideas for a day indoors. Ages 3-5.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

reS-K-While this story is predictable, young listeners and their parents will be amused to find their own experiences so clearly mirrored in this cheerful vignette of everyday life. Written as an extended dialogue between mother and child, the narrative moves from morning to night on a rainy day. Stuck inside, a young raccoon tidies his room, helps fold laundry, reads a book, sets the table for dinner, and eventually prepares to snuggle down in bed. Each activity is transformed in his imagination (with a little prompting from Mom). Making his bed turns into a seafaring adventure with a boat, whose sails "fold up neatly when the wind is calm." A full-page illustration contrasts each imagined activity (a basketball game and a trip to Mars, among others) with the mundane reality. Sweet's bright acrylic illustrations are charmingly childlike, with slightly distorted perspectives and entertaining details. They expand the text, which at times can seem repetitive and overly long. Children will especially enjoy checking out the artwork created by the young raccoon to enhance his creative play. While this may not be a prime candidate for repeated readings, children will enjoy poring over the pictures and may even be inspired to imagine ways to make their own chores a bit more entertaining.

Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.


More About the Author

Margaret Park Bridges was born in New York City and raised in Portland, Oregon. She started writing poetry and won the Academy of American Poets Prize while attending Bowdoin College. She wrote a one-act comedy called "Looking Out," which was made into a short film by a film student at NYU and also performed at the Quaigh Theater in New York City and in Lafayette, Louisiana, where she was married. After moving to Massachusetts, she won the Special Award for Excellence in Japan's Suntory Mystery Fiction Competition for "My Dear Watson." Later, when her daughters were young, she wrote several children's picture books. She is pleased to see "My Dear Watson" in print again--this time finally in English! She works for an educational publisher in Boston and lives with her haiku poet husband in Littleton, Massachusetts.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kristi Betts on March 5, 2002
Format: Hardcover
"Now what can I do?" asks the young raccoon to his mother throughout a rainy day. Mother's responses make the day go by quickly for both of them. Margaret Park Bridges creates a fantastic adventure for the most mundane of tasks in this wonderfully creative story. Melissa Sweet's acrylic illustrations show the loving relationship between mother and son, and the imaginary adventures that occur throughout the day.
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