In an email, Mr. Warburton mentioned working with Mo Willems on “Codename: Kids Next Door” and asked if I’d be interested in looking at his new book, 1000 Times No. Hey, he had me at with Mo.
Actually, while the Mr. Willems reference might have caught my attention, it was the book trailer that made me certain that this was a book I’d need to see. In fact, now that I’ve read the book, I appreciate the video even more for giving the pronunciation of all the different nos featured. (And props to the kid who nailed them all. Or so I guess, not speaking Rapanui myself.)
But let me back up. Mr. Warburton’s 1000 Times No is a tribute to the oppositional toddler. That is to say, all toddlers. As mother asks Noah (get it? No-ah) to leave, the diapered child pulls the thumb from his mouth and says, “No.” As mother urges, the boy’s responses continue in the negative, but now in cowboy, Inuit, Arabic, Japanese, robot, Hindi, Greek, Dutch, Zulu, and more, escalating to an entire chorus of every form of the word we’ve seen in one resounding “NOOOOOOOOOO!” But hold it, what if mom was asking about something good? Maybe yes?
The illustrations are engaging, starting simple and growing in complexity with each page turn. The cartoon style is enhanced by the watercolor treatment of the bold black outlines and the exaggerated shapes of the characters. There are plenty of fun things to catch along the way, like the cartoon on the diaper that matches the expression of the toddler. And what’s up with that rooster-blanket?
I’ve been seeing great reviews all over the Interweb. There’s Fuse#8’s detailed post (who also noticed the changing cartoon on the diaper) and Pink Me’s experience with the book and an actual difficult toddler in the library. (Been there.) Becky enjoyed it, and Seven Impossible Things features tons of the artwork today. Of course, I can’t forget the most important endorsement, as Mo Willems talks about working with Tom and has to admit that he likes the new book. He must mean it, because they were hanging out together some at Book Expo America. I have photographic proof!
My only complaint about this book is that I can’t keep it, because I promised it as a prize for the 48 Hour Book Challenge. It’s a good prize, especially since Mr. Warburton kindly drew a Noah sketch on the title page.
Well, I’ll always have the shirt.