oops! oh no!…five accident-prone adventures filled with (uh-oh!) mishaps

oh no george cover imageOh No, George, written and illustrated by Chris Haughton

George is a large, lovable dog.  Harry, his owner, is going out for a bit, leaving George home alone.  “Will you be good, George?” he asks.  Harry positively agrees to be very good.

And he means to.

But there are just so many lovely, tempting ways to be…not so very good.  Cakes cooling in the kitchen.  Cats.  Potted plants.

In short order, George has been quite, quite naughty.  When Harry comes home, he is aghast, and George feels terrible.  A tear trickles down his woeful, face.  What can be done now?

Happily, George thinks of just the right thing to do.  And also happily, Harryoh no george illustration chris haughton is a forgiving chap.  Ah, what a joyful dog George is now, and how much more determined to be good.  But will he be able to keep up this good behavior? Or not?

Ah, I adore this book!  So, so funny, and such an understanding glimpse of human nature, because of course, we are George as often as we are Harry.  Or more often!  And don’t we all want a fellow like Harry in our lives when we mess up?  Yup.

Haughton’s masterful digital art features a warm, psychedelic palette of oranges, reds, purples, and blues that throb with George’s tension and  guilty frenzies; a slightly cooler range of colors captures the quiet, friendly love of Harry.  It is incredible how much expression he captures in George’s face and postures — and we know just how he is feeling!

This is a fantastic treat for preschoolers and up!

oops cover imageOops, a wordless book by Arthur Geisert

The Pig family live in a sunshine-yellow house perched atop stilts, on a terraced hillside.  Above them looms a dramatic, rocky cliff.  Below them the broad, lazy river flows.  It is a sunny, idyllic morning as the family gathers around the breakfast table, when…

…OOPS!  One of the pig brothers spills his milk.

Not to worry.  Mama and Papa pig grab some rags and mop up the puddles on the table.  

What they don’t realize, though, is that a chain reaction has been set in oops illustration arthur geisert 001motion which is about to rock their world!  Some of that milk has poured through the split in the table and flowed down a vent in the kitchen floor, which runs into a duct, emptying into the workshop under the cantilevered house.  There, a number of Rube Goldberg-esque sequences take place involving a paint tray, screwdriver, several switches and blades, rolling and tipping, sawing and breaking, bursting and spewing, tugging and richocheting.  

In the end, this little slop of milk results in utter catstrophe!  Oops.

Happily, though, no one is injured, and that, as they say, is the most important thing after all.

Arthur Geisert is a genius at wordless books.  Here, he draws our attention at times to close-up examinations of specific cause-and-effect snags, zooms us back out to witness the overall emergency, peeks in occasionally to check up on the pig family, masterfully leading us through the whole disaster with nary a word.  Despite the terrible misfortunes of the pigs, their happiness over being all together and well leaves us with a sigh of relief.  Clever, as always, this Geisert book may well lead you to others by him including Lights Out, which I’ve reviewed here.

uh oh cover imageUh-Oh! written and illustrated by Mary Newell DePalma

Littlest Dinosaur is a walking, bouncing, catapulting disaster zone in this silly story of one mishap after the next.

His exuberant trampolining on the sofa starts the mayhem, as one cushion flies off, smashing the elaborate block city his siblings have built, while he sails through the air, landing on a precarious potted plant, tipping the plant and dirt all over the carpet.  Doubleuh-oh illustration mary newell depalma 001 uh-oh.

You’ve got to give him credit, though.  He’s quick to grab the broom and dust pan, carefully sweeping up the mess, righting the plant pot, tidily emptying his sweepings into the garbage pail, but…oopsie!  His broom accidentally sweeps the milk jug off the counter. Now there’s a huge milky puddle on the kitchen floor and he’s got to rush about, cleaning up the new spill.

Of course, every good intentioned solution leads to another mess until finally his disgruntled family parks him on a chair facing the corner.  Even here, however, this fellow manages to land in a sticky wicket.  Oh dear.

Uproarious, ridiculous, fun in this nearly-wordless book.  Despite all the trouble he causes, this little guy is a highly sympathetic fellow.  We groan, we laugh, we hope, we commiserate with his extraordinary clumsiness.  There’s a gob of energy in the bright illustrations, a brilliant amount of expression in the faces of all involved, and a great deal of story to read into the pictures.   Kids 4 years and up will heartily enjoy it.

oh no ono cover imageOh no, Ono!, written and illustrated by Hans de Beer

Ono is a curious and plucky piglet. In just one day, he manages to gad about the entire barnyard, winding up in one predicament after another as his curiosity lures him into small adventures.

Chasing a bunny leads to Ono being wedged into its burrow.  Attempting to mimic the ducklings raises a huge ruckus in the pond.  Ono makes the foal dizzy, outfoxes a mischievous fox, stirs up a peck of trouble with some crows, and on, and on.  With each turn of the page, another mishap involving Ono unfolds.

Ono’s silly encounters with his farm neighbors will delight children ages 2 and up.  He’s a lovable pig, who doesn’t mean any harm, though he certainly causes quite a lot of trouble — and that’s easy to relate to at any age! Each vignette is simply, briefly told, and then we move on to another episode.

I particularly like how de Beer provides numerous watercolor illustrations in small cameos that portray each step in all of Ono’s scrapes.  Each double page spread features one page of story, and one full page of sequential illustrations.  As you read the story, a child can have great fun following the events in picture format, noticing which picture captures the action as it rolls along.  Highly engaging.

oh no not again cover imageOh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built A Time Machine To Save History) (Or At Least My History Grade), by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Dan Santat

It all starts when one, overachieving young girl receives the results of her World History exam.  She’s got an A, all right, but it isn’t a perfect score.  She erred on the first question.  Aargh!  She was sure that the oldest prehistoric cave paintings were in Belgium, but the red ink on her paper says, “France.”

Oh, well.  The solution is simple.  She’ll throw together a dandy time machine, zoom back in history, and rearrange matters so her answer is actually, historically correct.  A few gamma rays and twists of the wrench later, and she’s looking at a beautiful rig, complete with fire extinguisher and a micro hadron collider.  Nice.

Whoosh.  She zooms back, with a few bumps in the road, to ancient Belgium.  Parking her machine on an eerie, sandy plain, she marches up to a couple of oh no not again illustration dan santatlikely cavemen, hands them some jazzy art supplies, and tells them to get to work.  

This is where things start to go a bit wrong.

To discover how sabre-tooth tigers, robots and Queen Elizabeth become hopelessly jumbled together, and how prehistoric cave paintings do emerge first in Belgium, yet how our mechanical, time-traveling girl manages to go from an A to a big, fat F on her test — you will need to read this ridiculous, madcap book. 

Dan Santat’s digital illustrations take the starring role, here.  Humorous, comic strip panels rocket us from classroom to sci-fi laboratory, from Ug and Mugg’s stony countenances and adolescent behavior with spray paint, to utter historical mayhem.  A time-machine transport map reminiscent of British Tube maps is an extremely clever addition.

Zany humor for ages 7 and up.  

Here are Amazon links for these enormously accidental adventures:
Oh No, George!
Oh No, Ono!
Oh No! Not Again!: (Or How I Built a Time Machine to save History) (Or at Least My History Grade)