An overly agreeable young man learns, through trial and error, how to say no.
Mr. Yes is quite accomplished. He knows magic tricks, origami, and elocution, just for starters. The one thing he has never learned is how to say, “No.” He’s offered ice cream made of hummingbird poop and slug slime—and eats the whole bowl. He buys a tennis racket with no strings from a slick traveling salesman. Even though he chides “the man in the bathroom mirror” for his spinelessness, Mr. Yes nevertheless agrees to stay late at the office to complete an impossibly high pile of paperwork, put on his desk by a colleague named Noah. While he’s crying over this mistake, a fly zooms into his open mouth, and he can barely speak. He tries to call “Noah!” But all that comes out is “No.” At last! He’s learned to say no. His heart feels light, like he’s walking on air. And the man in the mirror looks terrific, “the greatest!” Mr. Yes learns a lot of new things, and now when he says yes, people know that he really means it. Gil’s playful and loopy tale is greatly abetted by Cerro’s imaginatively surreal illustrations, which depict an all-white cast. Featuring amusing distortions, bright colors, and unexpected perspectives, the overall effect is appealingly avant-garde.
A valuable lesson not often offered to children, delivered with humor. (Picture book. 5-8)