NO! by David McPhail

NO!

by and illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An oddly didactic fable from a benign source. A small boy sets off to mail a letter. As he walks he passes airplanes bombing homes, tanks attacking buildings and soldiers abusing the public. At the mailbox a bigger boy makes to beat up our hero, but is set back a piece when the boy yells a definitive “No!”—the only word of dialogue in this tale. As the boy walks back, he and readers observe that the soldiers are friendly, the tank has become a plow and the planes drop bicycles not bombs. Finally readers see that the boy’s letter was to the president: After listing his school’s rules (“NO PUSHING / NO PUNCHING”) it ends, “Do you have any rules?” The general idea is that if one says “No!” to bullies, rather than just saying nothing, the world becomes a better place. This message is clear, though the packaging is not, as the early violence doesn’t sit well with the later idyllic scenes of peace and harmony. Certainly some adults will find this pseudo-Sendakian tale moving, but the message is wrapped in a self-righteous format that doesn’t work effectively for its intended audience. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-59643-288-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Roaring Brook
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2009




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