Nobody’s perfect, and that’s actually fine.
A boy sits on the bottom step of an indoor staircase musing about imperfections. His baby sister, Gigi, is loud. His best friend, Jack, is “kind of a show-off.” His mother won’t listen when he insists that the dog’s habit of sleeping on his bed should be blamed on the dog. That last disagreement explains why he’s sitting here, in a timeout. His own imperfection, he thinks, is messiness: His room has toys everywhere and drawers bursting open. After he cleans, it’s demonstrably worse—the drawers have leaped free of the dressers, and the floor is nigh impassable. But messiness is key to joy and artwork, Jack’s showing off is fun when it’s playful, and Gigi’s clamor enables thrilling, pot-banging screamfests. The boy forgives his mom’s supposed flaw too, but he doesn’t reframe it—she’s OK because “[s]ometimes she does listen,” not because her trait is sometimes a boon. This uneasy break in the pattern dilutes the interesting point that flaws aren’t always flaws. Zuppardi’s loose, scribbly, deceptively child-styled pencil outlines vibrate with energy, and his colorful acrylic backgrounds feature uninhibitedly visible brush strokes, drips, splotches and lines made from pulling a tool through wet paint. The kids have enormous heads; their wide-open mouths are unabashedly colored in with gray pencil.
Not the most fascinating or consistent storyline, but snazzy artwork spruces it up. (Picture book. 3-6)