Something to Do

David Lucas, Author, David Lucas, Illustrator . Philomel $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25247-1

Casting about for the “something to do” of the title, a tubby father bear and anxious-looking cub stand outlined in blunt brown pastel lines against an empty landscape, flummoxed. “We'll go for a walk... a long walk,” they agree. When they find they can draw lines with sticks, the world opens wide; in scenes that conjure Harold and the Purple Crayon , they draw a ladder and climb up into the sky, drawing a moon and stars and exploring the heavens (the blue and brown palette expands to include green and pink—magic is clearly at work). Lucas acknowledges that even adults are sometimes short on inspiration, and offers simple objects and creativity as the finest playthings (“Good-bye, ladder!” shout the bears as it falls to earth, while they use the crescent moon like a seesaw). In earlier books like Cake Girl and Nutmeg , Lucas demonstrated a love for ornament and pattern: here, text and pictures are stripped down to essentials. But his observations are just as potent, and his depiction of boredom is every bit as entertaining as his vision of imaginative play. Ages 2–5. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 09/14/2009
Release date: 09/01/2009
Genre: Children's
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