Kirkus Reviews QR Code
NOTHING TO DO by Douglas Wood


by Douglas Wood & illustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: May 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-525-47656-3
Publisher: Dutton

In this heartfelt, if not particularly logical, plea to make the most of unstructured time, Wood catalogues ways to enjoy it, and as is her wont, Halperin really fills in the details. Looking like a tween but sounding adult, the narrator claims to have heard of some ways to fill in those times when there is no school, no dance class, no Little League, “just a white, empty space on the calendar.” There could be walks, cloud-watching, reading and then rereading favorite books, making snow angels or paintings and a wide range of other pleasures. Inspired by a scientist’s work on natural patterns, Halperin frames blizzards of finely drawn children and common objects (unsurprisingly, there’s not a GameBoy in sight) in eight common forms of growth, from spirals to explosions. The author and illustrator both open with philosophical notes in small type, so this is plainly addressed to both grownups and children. Some might see a contradiction in suggesting so many ways to fill in idle hours—but the idea that such might come along now and then is a worthy one to introduce to readers with over-structured lives. (Picture book. 7-10)