Friday, January 16, 2009

Review: No! That's wrong!

No! That's Wrong! by Zhaohua Ji and Cui Xu
Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2008.

One windy day, a pair of underwear flies off a clothesline and gets blown into the path of a rabbit. The rabbit promptly puts the underwear on his head with his ears through the leg holes and calls it a hat. Other animals try it on with varying degrees of success until a donkey comes along and sets the rabbit straight about what his hat really is. How will the rabbit manage that with his tail?

No! That's wrong! is a charming tale about, well, sticking to your guns. As you may have guessed, the rabbit doesn't do very well fitting his tail in the underwear in what is perhaps the funniest spread in the book. So the underwear goes back to being a hat, much to the delight of the other animals - and young readers, as demonstrated by some first grade students in the library the other day who were repeatedly crying "it's UNDERWEAR!" and going into fits of giggles.

Which is exactly what the book is meant to do. The phrase "No, that's wrong" appears on the bottom of every page in which the animals are wearing the underwear as a hat, inciting readers to say the same. Much like Don't let the pigeon drive the bus when readers are to deny the pigeon's repeated and increasingly frantic requests to drive the bus (as with these pages from the book), it encourages direct response to what is happening on the page. Which makes it a lot of fun.

The illustrations are a main component to the fun and are beautiful with oodles of amusing details and visual cues (like the stone path) for how to weave your way through the action on the page. There are sunglasses on the donkey, an adam's apple on the ram, and the pair of underwear isn't just plain old Fruit of the Looms but lacy red underthings which only adds to the hilarity. And whatever you do, don't miss the end pages!

From China via publisher Kane Miller, No! That's wrong! is a winner.

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