Monday, June 1, 2009

Let's Do Nothing

Candlewick Press
Tony Fucile

Best friends Frankie and Sal have played every board game they own, read all their comic books, baked enough cookies to feel slightly sick and are now stumped as to what to attack next. They decide to do ... nothing. The plan is to sit perfectly still, no moving, no talking. And how does it go? Hilariously, thanks to Frankie and his over-active imagination.

Sal is the mastermind behind this non-activity and explains how they will undertake doing nothing. They will pretend to be stone statues, the type typically seen in a park. This is a good idea, until Frankie's imagination invents a pigeon or twelve. He nearly falls off his chair by shooing the offenders with his vigorous arm flailing. That's okay, Frankie has a better idea. They will pretend to be two giant redwood trees in the middle of the forest. No pigeons there. There may be no pigeons, but there is a little dog who mistakes Frankie's tree for a fire hydrant, if you catch my drift.

The boys continue on this way, with Sal brainstorming and Frankie's inability to carry out the plan. His vibrant imagination makes it terribly difficult to sit still, even while pretending to be a statue or a building. Even if he could sit perfectly still as a regular person, he's still blinking and breathing. The boys come to the sudden realization that ... it's impossible to do nothing. And if that is impossible, well, they might as well do something!

The illustrations are incredibly clever and attractive. The way the boys are drawn cracks me up. The brains of the duo is skinny little Sal, clad in a red and white striped shirt and classic retro sneakers. His faithful follower Frankie is a foot shorter, with thick black rimmed glasses and his stomach perpetually peeping out from underneath his t-shirt. As you can tell in the photo above, the glasses make it easy to tell the boys apart on the pages where they are inanimate objects.

We loved this book. It's realistic, smart and funny. Tony Fucile wrote that the book was based on two bored boys from his childhood - one being himself and the other his friend Steve. Read his interview in its entirety here.

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