cover image It’s Not My Fault!

It’s Not My Fault!

Jory John, illus. by Jared Chapman. Random House, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-9848-3060-9

John (Giraffe Problems) and Chapman’s (Vegetables in Underwear) redheaded protagonist is a pro at passing the buck: it’s his pen’s fault that his homework is messy and late, and the moon’s fault that he’s up past his bedtime. But his fall guys are not as inanimate as he assumes (the brightly colored cartooned line drawings show them fuming with each falsehood), and late one night the pen holds an intervention, unleashing a torrent of hard truths and a threat to revoke affection that should make for bravura reading aloud. “Blaming everything but yourself, never taking responsibility for your actions, and pointing a guilty, quaking finger whenever you’ve done anything wrong is a sham,” the pen declares. What’s more, “blaming the moon for when you stay up too late makes literally NO SENSE AT ALL.” (“YEAH!” an angry moon echoes from the sky.) And it works: the boy announces at school the next day that he accepts responsibility for his actions—well, at least partially. There’s something to be said for the story’s unalloyed righteous indignation, its conviction showing that the blame game is never just fun and games. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (June) [/em]