Monday, October 09, 2017



People who live in houses with white furniture should not drink juice.

Lola trips her way across the living room with a whole pitcher of orange juice, and the lovely white armchair suddenly blooms with an abstract expressionist design worthy of Willem de Kooning.

Lola is horrified. What has she DONE? It's fright and flight as she flees the scene of the crime, racing down the street toward the center of town.

"I'll hide in the library, They have books and bathrooms. And I'll stay there until I'm a grownup!"

As Lola runs she spots a chubby bear who has just, er, overestimated the strength of the swings in the park.


He joins Lola in search of sanctuary, just as they pass a young rabbit whose hedge shears have just cut through a garden hose, spraying water everywhere. The three take it on the lam, that is, until they collide with an anteater and her shopping cart, launching a bunny into a trajectory which ends in the baker's cake on the way to a party. What else can happen?

Oh, much more, Lola, MUCH, MUCH MORE!

The neat little town seems to be piling mishap upon misfortune. A bull is being ejected from a china shop amid assorted shards of the merchandise. A deer steps into a potted plant, a blender blows up in somebody's face just as a baseball goes through a window, and a barber is about to give a bovine a very bad hair day. And that's just the beginning.

The whole town is to wrack and ruin, from MISADVENTURE to MESS to MISHAP to MAYHEM, from CALAMITY to CATASTROPHE to CATACLYSM, as Lola and her hard luck gang head up the library steps, a trail of disaster in their wake. But even in that sanctum of order, FIASCO flourishes. As the bad luck kids dash inside, they bring down the precise row of stacks like a house of cards. Book trucks careen into librarians and patrons join the books flying through the air, their leaves flapping like wounded eagles.

What is the word for all this woe?


As a philosophical red bird points out, accidents will happen. There's nothing for it but to clean it up, fix it up, make amends, and apologize, in Andrea Tsurumi's delightful just-published debut, Accident!(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017). With a spare but elegantly chosen vocabulary, artist Tsurumi lets the misfortune spread in their wake as the characters make a run for it, with the action rapidly moving left to right and new debacles unfolding at each page turn.

Sharp-eyed young readers will rejoice in predicting the series of unfortunate events as disaster snowballs through the city. And though there's a community spirit of all's well that ends well, with everyone pitching in to restore order, Lola arrives back home, repentant, a roll of paper towels still trailing from her tail, just in time to find her father falling, one foot in the waste basket, in a coffee-spilling BOO-BOO in their er, redecorated, living room. And the illustrator is not done with us yet, as in a final messy metafictional snafu, Lola crashes head first through the endpapers.

This tour de tragedie is a real tour de force for author-illustrator Andrea Tsurumi, who not only writes and illustrates the whole comic tsunami of devastation, (which by the way, begins on the title page) but provides the hand-lettered text and speech balloons for the story, wrapped up with the sweet premise that to err is human and to forgive is divine.



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