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Monday, March 17, 2014

I Didn't Do My Homework Because... Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2014. $14.99 ages 8 and up

"I gave my pencils
to Robin Hood.

A famous director
asked to use my bedroom
to shoot his new movie.

Some strange birds
made a nest on our

For those kids who never get their homework done, here's a book that will give them many more excuses. They may be absurd, but that is what will attract readers to this book. I hope that teachers share it with their students. It is a nod to quick thinking. What a mentor text for some imaginative writing!

When I was working as a teacher librarian I heard a lot of reasons cocerning the state of the book being returned, the loss of a book, and the ever-used, "I'm sure I didn't borrow that one!" It was fun to listen, and then add them to my little black book of excuses. I would often refer to it to prove to kids that I had actually 'heard that one before'. That is not the case with the reasons showcased in Davide Cali's new book.

One truly imaginative boy, and a myriad of answers to the missing homework question posed by his teacher. Each follows the next in a rapid fire attempt to befuddle. You have already read three of them. I wonder how many more your students might add to Mr. Cali's list. Of course, nothing will be their fault!

There are 44 pages and each page turn offers one more crazy reason for not doing the assigned task. In the end, the boy gets his just desserts...his teacher brings a copy of the very same book we are reading out from behind her back. Tada! He's toast...

Benjamin Chaud has chosen shades of red and green to set the stage in his accompanying artwork. The boy offering the excuses is dressed elegantly in a dark suit with a bold red tie. Each image is detailed and suited to the absurdity of the boy's justification for the absence of the expected work.

Entertaining and very appropriate for older children who will appreciate the nonsense.

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