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I Didn't Do My Homework Because... Hardcover – March 4, 2014
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This 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.—Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College, Queens, NY
A teacher asks her student why he did not do his homework, and he offers her enough excuses to fill a book, varying from the possibly plausible (“My sister’s rabbit chewed up all my pencils and workbooks”) to the highly unlikely (“I gave my pencils to Robin Hood”) to the head-scratchingly inexplicable (“My brother had his little problem again”). The story crosses into metafiction when it is revealed that all those excuses do indeed fill a book—and the teacher has already read it. As a cautionary tale with hardly any story, this droll little book can be enjoyed for the cheek of the protagonist, the broad inventiveness of the excuses, and the scale of the whimsical illustrations (the giant lizards invading the neighborhood are a sight to behold). Chaud’s illustrations have a retro look reminiscent of Edward Gorey, though quite a bit sillier. Readers may very well be inspired to try some of these excuses themselves, but the caveat could not be clearer: there’s no fooling the teacher. Grades K-2. --Kara Dean