Book: Something to Do
Author: David Lucas
Illustrator: David Lucas
Source: Local Library
Two bears, one big and one little, moan, "There's nothing to do!" They wander around in search of occupation, until they find . . . a stick. With the stick, they draw a line, which turns into a ladder, which turns into an adventure.
I talked about this one with a picture-book-loving friend, and to my astonishment, she hated it. She hated it with a fiery burning passion that no amount of Preparation H could ever douse. For her, it was way too much like Harold and the Purple Crayon. Which, okay, point granted. It's definitely very close in theme and feel. Yet I fell in love with it, even having read and loved Harold all through childhood. I guess your reaction will vary. For me, the really special part was how two characters share their imagined world. Their relationship is never defined, so they could be parent and child (of either gender), siblings, or simply friends. The world of your imagination is a wonderful one, but when you can find someone to share that world with, it's even better.
Like those of Antoinette Portis or Mo Willems, the beauty of these illustrations lie in their simplicity. Using mainly two colors of crayon in childlike line drawings, Lucas creates a world of dreams to swim in. When he adds a few more colors in a starscape, the effect is more magical than if he'd been working in full colors the whole way through.
I read it in a toddler storytime and was a little worried that they wouldn't get it, but the simple, charming images and short monologue-like text caught their attention and held it. This would work equally well as a read-aloud or a bedtime story.