cover image Nothing to Do

Nothing to Do

Douglas Wood, , illus. by Wendy Anderson Halperin. . Dutton, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-47656-6

What do you do when there's nothing to do? That's the question that Wood (Old Turtle ) ponders in this picture-book celebration of the joys to be found in all-too-rare unscheduled time. As a grateful young narrator explains, sometimes there are days signified by "just a white, empty space on the calendar." On those days of no school, no lessons, no activities, kids can explore, wander, create toy ships or paper airplanes, read "your very favorite book" in a quiet spot and just plain relax—"And isn't that great ?" Woods's leisurely paced observances of various free-time pursuits—cloud watching, fort building, walking barefoot in the mud—is perfectly matched to his theme. Halperin's (Turn, Turn, Turn ) watercolors exude an equally easy-going, reverie-like quality and often feature several kid-like pastimes and images simultaneously in a variety of small vignettes that share a spread. The artist experiments with patterns and designs that represent types of natural growth, including branchlike and spherical partitions (as explained in her artist's note); the result is visually and thematically arresting. A wonderful choice for lazy days or as an antidote to crazy-busy ones. Ages 4-up. (May)