What to Say If You Don't Have A Dog: I Didn't Do My Homework Because... " by Davide Cali
My baby sister used it for a teething ring?... My mom cleaned out my backpack?... It's in my backpack--somewhere! Honest!... My big brother used it to make paper planes and flew them over the river?....
Lame-O excuses for the lack of homework are legion, but Davide Cali's I Didn't Do My Homework Because... (Chronicle Books, 2014) comes up with some creative lollapaloozas for the lexicon.
"We had a problem with carnivorous plants."
"We were attacked by Vikings."
"Giant lizards invaded my neighborhood."
"My family discovered oil in our backyard."
While Cali's lamentations are quite inventive, the real fun with this one is in the playful artwork contributed by Benjamin Chaud, whose retro-styled character struggles valiantly against interlopers determined to get him in trouble with his teacher. In single- and double-page spreads, Chaud extends the text by hiding the textbook and homework in question somewhere in his elaborate illustrations--at the end of the giant lizard's tongue, for example, just before he swallows it.
Most teachers can honestly say they've read the book on homework excuses, and this one is no exception. Teacher, it turns out, spots a book on the boy's desk and holds it up for the class to see, and fittingly, its title is I Didn't Do My Homework Because..... and she's read it!
Fans of clever artwork will find much to peruse on each page as they search for the missing homework in the midst of the melee, and crafty teachers may even turn the tables and turn the premise of this book into a writing prompt, such as "I didn't clean my room because..." or "There were raw eggs in my lunch box because... "
School Library Journal says, "This well-crafted book should find an appreciative audience."
And for extra credit, pair this one with Lisa Broadie Cook's Peanut Butter and Homework Sandwiches. (See review here).