We read a lot of books in this family and I love hearing from other parents when they come across a book that their kids liked. So, I’ll be writing weekly posts about books that my kids and I recommend. Feel free to share any you’ve come across that might be a nice complement to the one I’m reviewing
Let’s Do Nothing tells the story of two friends who have spent the day entertaining themselves in every way they could think of. They’ve played every sports, board game, read comic books, “painted more pictures than Van Gogh did in a lifetime,” and “baked enough cookies to feed a small country.”
They are worn out and wondering what to do next. When the kid in the red and white shirt suggests that they stop talking for 10 seconds. To which the kid with the glasses named Frankie replies, “All right. Ten seconds of nothing.” But can they do it?
First, they imagine they are stone statues, but imaginary pigeons get the better of Frankie. So, they try being redwood trees in a forest, but again Frankie’s vivid imagination breaks them from their attempt at 10 seconds. A third try involves pretending to be the empire state building, which is just waiting for a giant ape to spoil this attempt.
Not one to be thwarted in the quest for 10 seconds of nothing, Sal has Frankie lie down on the floor and try to not move. But, of course, Frankie’s body protests. And finally, Sal figures it out when he announces, “People have had it wrong for hundreds and thousands of years! There is no way to do nothing!” Having solved the problem, they happily take off to do something.
The illustrations in this book are wonderfully done and make the the story laugh out loud funny. I’ve left a few things out so that some jokes are not spoiled. Both parents and kids get a kick out of watching the kids in their attempts to do nothing. The metaphor of the mind during meditation is certainly not lost on anyone familiar with trying to quiet its unruliness.
I enjoy books that have pages of text with illustrations as well pages with only illustrations that work together to move the plot forward and make the reader laugh. This book has that in abundance. Since the author is primarily known as an animator, he isn’t afraid to tell stories with pictures. If you’re able to get a larger hardback copy, it’s worth it.
It’s also a great book to bring out if your kids are in the middle of one of those, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do” phases. A good laugh and distraction helps them to remember that it’s impossible to do nothing, right?
Activities to create with this book:
- Talk about the pages without words and ask your kids what sounds the characters are making.
- Keep a special note of the dog in the book. Is the dog someone who understands the art of doing nothing? Why or why not?
- How long is 10 seconds? Grab a stopwatch (or the timer on your iPhone) and try the activities Frankie and Sal did before trying to do nothing: painting a picture, playing a sport, baking cookies, playing a board game, and reading a comic book for 10 seconds. What happened?
- Like Frankie, lie down a balance a block on your tummy and forehead. Can you keep them still for 10 seconds? How about when you breathe?
- Try this experiment from PBS Zoom: to build a 10 second game timer.
- Of course, try the 4 ways of doing nothing and see if you can do them for 10 seconds.
Related Posts You May Like:
- All Children’s Book Reviews on TouchstoneZ (touchstonez.com)
- Book Review: Mindful Movements (touchstonez.com)
- Zen Ties Book Review (touchstonez.com)
- Mean Soup Book Review (touchstonez.com)
Have you read any good books lately? I’d love to hear from you.
Post for NaBloPoMo
(Since I’m writing most of these late at night, in bed, while tandem nursing twins, I’m choosing to concentrate on writing rather than proof-reading or editing. Please forgive the extra typos and non-nonsensical grammar. Thank you.)