Monday, June 07, 2010

Less Is More: Let's Do Nothing! by Tony Focile

"What are we going to do now, Frankie?"

"I don't know, Sal. I think we've done it all.

"We've played every sport ever invented, painted more pictures in a day than van Gogh did in a lifetime.

Baked enough cookies to feed a small country.

Played every board game we could find.

Read every comic book th--"

"OK, OK. Let's stop talking for ten seconds, all right? Ten seconds of NOTHING!"

It's summer vacation, and Sal and Frankie have already hit the wall! It's not that they can't THINK of anything to do. Trouble is, they've already thought of it and they've already DONE IT--to the MAX! Now what?

Well, if you've already done it all, there's only one thing left to try!


But doing nothing is harder than it sounds. Sal suggests that they try a little method acting to facilitate the challenge--pretend they are stone statues in the park. Frankie and Sal freeze in place. But Frankie's fertile imagination is in full play and he soon imagines pigeons lighting all over his pal. He knows what's going to happen next unless he takes action.

"Frankie, what are you doing?"

"Shooing pigeons!!"

Sal sets the stage again. They are two giant redwoods in a quiet grove in the forest. Frankie composes himself and thinks like a tree--until he imagines a spunky Chihuahua lifting his leg suspiciously around his roots. He's got to DO something!


"Your dog just went to the bathroom on ME!"

Finally the boys realize that doing nothing actually is doing something!

"That's IT. We figured it out! People have had it wrong for hundreds and hundreds of years. There's no way to do nothing!

This is big! This is REALLY BIG! You know what we have to do now, don'tcha?"



Tony Focile, who came up through the animated film industry, working on Finding Nemo, The Lion Kig, and The Incredibles, has a winner in the comic characters of Frankie and Sal, two kids with plenty of personality and imagination, in his Let's Do Nothing! (Candlewick Press, 2009). The summer doldrums have never been such far-out fun since, well, Marla Frazee's Caldecott Honor Book A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever. (see my post on this hilarious award winner here.)

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  • We laughed for along time in class after I read this gem!

    By Blogger Kyle, at 7:55 AM  

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