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The Things I Can Do Hardcover – June 25, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 1
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596436751
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596436756
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.4 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,028 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jeff can do lots of things by himself: fix his lunch, mend his toys, brush his teeth, fly (almost). He can even write and illustrate his own picture-book autobiography. Mack throws everything he has into the perfect facsimile of a handmade-by-a-child book, complete with doodled crayon pictures, magazine collage, dinosaur stickers, and even a duct tape spine. The result is a messy metaconcoction with piles of charm. The rhyming-couplet text, outlining the events in Jeff’s day, is suitably childlike, with playful predictability and deliberately questionable scansion. But the real draw is the boisterous, ridiculous imagery, both for its irresistible authenticity and its clever detail (don’t miss the hand-crayoned Roaring Brook logo or the copy of this book on the final page’s Popsicle-stick shelf). It’s tempting to suggest that this will inspire young readers to create memoirs of their own, but that feels unnecessarily earnest. This one is all about the laughter. Preschool-Grade 2. --Thom Barthelmess


"Rowdy and infectious: Fetch tape and crayons." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A tongue-in-cheek book." -- School Library Journal

"Should inspire art projects." -- BCCB

"This one is all about the laughter." -- Booklist

More About the Author

Jeff Mack is the creator of picture books and early graphic novel readers including Hush Little Polar Bear and the Hippo and Rabbit series. He has also illustrated award winning picture books and chapter books such as Eve Bunting's Hurry! Hurry! and James Howe's Bunnicula and Friends.

Originally from Syracuse, NY, Mack grew up fascinated by monsters and robots. He built his own pinball machines from cardboard boxes, and created comic books about his four siblings being devoured by monsters.

In 1995 he began painting murals for restaurants, hospitals, and libraries. Five years later, he was writing and illustrating children's books in an ever-increasing range of styles.

Now at home in Western Massachusetts, he continues to write, paint, and talk with school groups about his various projects. Visit him at

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on February 19, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
This picture book is all about a little boy that is starting to be independent. He is learning to do all sorts of things! He may not be doing them perfect just yet but he is well on his way. He is learning as he goes and puts his own twist on things! We loved the collage style illustrations in the book. Very creative! Recommend for storytimes because there is so much to look at on each page.
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By Storywraps on November 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Just picking up this book, flipping through the pages and ogling the illustrations will encourage you to get a copy and share it with your kids. The pictures are so much fun, so packed full of action and expression that it is amazing. This little guy is overjoyed to show his independence so he crafts his very own book to document his monumental feats and proudly displays it so all the world can see. He is able to make his own lunch, get his own drink of milk (although there are milk spills down the page), bath himself (albeit in the kitchen sink with the faucet spray) and mend his toys with copious gobs and blobs of glue. He is the man!!!! Mr. Self- reliant! Mr. Cellophane, Masking and Duct Tape Warrior! Fantastic, humorous self-portraits with a huge round head, sticky-out ears and a smile a mile wide shows his bliss as he continues on his journey of .... look what I can do. He uses everyday "stuff" around the house to create his incredible, tactile collages and photos are embedded here and there to make things very interesting indeed.

My favourite? "I can brush my teeth, /I can pick out my clothes. // This sweater was perfect!! // For wiping my nose." A huge big splotch of snot is highlighted which will make your kids giggle and laugh.....and the underwear guy pictured above will have them laughing right out loud. This spirited little man will win your heart and have you cheering him on as he discovers .... yes I can!!! I am a big boy now!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
The little boy at the center of Jeff Mack's The Things I Can Do is very confident, and he really wants to show the reader all the great things he can do by himself. He can get his own drink, brush his own teeth, pick out his own clothes, tie his own shoes, and tell you a story. He can certainly tell you a story. With one line of text per page, this is the perfect length for story time, especially for those super wiggly two and three year olds. Every kid can relate to wanting to do things for himself, and will love hearing all the great things this little guy can do.

Of course, there is another story to be told in the illustrations. These bright, whimsical pictures that feature mixed media collages, crayon drawings and tons of energy lend a three dimensional feel to this book and make this even more of a winner for the story time crowd. The illustration featuring "I can get my own drink" shows a huge milk spill, and when little Jeff states "I can pick out my clothes" the picture tells the tale as we see a round head wearing a pair of underwear. Flip the page and we find out "This sweater was perfect!!! For wiping my nose." The accompanying pictures show lots stuff.

With a main character that looks like he sprung from any five year old's imagination and some really creative artwork, The Things I Can Do is a sure fire choice for story time fun. Look out for the page which states "I can fix my own toys if I use enough glue." This one of course shows lots of glue - all over the place. I found this book to be reminiscent of David Shannon's David series of picture books. The engaging illustrations make this a natural for lots of repeat viewings. It made me smile and I can't wait to share it with my story time crowds.
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