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Review: I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… by Davide Cali

I Didn’t Do My Homework Because…
By Davide Cali
Illustrated by Benjamin Chaud

Chronicle Books

ISBN: 9781452125510
$12.99
Grades 1-3
In Stores March 4, 2014

Find it at:
Schuler Books | Your Library

Kids will go to great lengths to avoid homework. I Didn’t Do My Homework Because… is a little book that celebrates this near-universal truth. Scores of young readers will relate. They will also laugh.

“So why didn’t you do your homework?”

I didn’t do my homework because…

Thus begins the tall tale telling as a boy tries convince his teacher that his missing homework is not his fault. Each turn of the page reveals a new absurd scenario, from runaway reptiles to viking invasions. But the teacher has the last word – she’s read the same book and knows all the excuses. Busted.

This book resembles nothing as much as a sort of a picture book in miniature. But the subject matter, page count (44), and humor are definitely more likely to hit home with a slightly-older-than-the-typical-picture-book crowd. So where to shelve it? I’m leaning toward the fiction section, where I see it getting some reluctant reader attention.

The illustrations are all restrained exuberance. They’re like exuberance wearing a tie. As with Chaud’s previous book (2013 highlight The Bear’s Song), his refined characters and settings are often all the more humorous due to the layer of craziness applied to everything.

It’s a tweener of a book that has charm to spare. Once readers pick it up, it’s unlikely they’ll put it down until it’s finished. Especially if there’s homework to be done.

Review copy from the publisher

Read an excerpt online

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.