Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Animation and children’s books share a long history together. (See the brilliant Bill Peet, for instance.) I’m always intrigued when I see a new children’s book written and/or illustrated by someone from the animation industry, mostly because I am an animator. Add the illustration degree and a big collection of vintage children’s books to the mix and, well, you get my point. So, when I was handed a copy of Mr. Warburton’s 1000 Times No (from Harpercollins) the other day, my interest was keenly piqued because I knew that this “Mr. Warburton” was none other than Tom Warburton, creator of Cartoon Network’s Codename: Kids Next Door fame. Tom’s also been involved with other productions, some with fellow NY animator-turned-famous-children’s-book-author Mo Willams. It was through a suggestion by Mo that Tom should do a children’s book. “1000 Times No” ended up being his first endeavor.

The book is illustrated in Warburton’s signature KND style, which young readers will thoroughly enjoy. My kids (8 and 4 years) also enjoyed the simplistic story, of which a toddler, Noah (get it? Noah?) has been told that it’s time to leave by his mother, but instead tells her off with a wide variety of NO’s. In fact, it’s through all the multiple versions of saying “no” where my kids got a big kick out of the book. Seeing “no” written out in Dutch, Greek, Japanese, Inuit, Latin, even Zulu, among other inventive (and surprising) ways, was quite entertaining.

Also entertaining was the fun, animated promo produced by Curious Pictures (naturally, since KND was produced there as well)

1000 Times No by Tom Warburton
I was on the desk in the children's department earlier tonight, and a lady had a baby and a little girl. When she got the call from her husband: "Come on home, dinner's almost ready," the baby started fussing and the little girl lost it. "NO!" she wailed. My kids are 20 months apart, and boy I remember that sinking feeling when you realize just how far it is to the exit, and how long your walk of shame will be, escorting not one but two shrieking bundles of raw nerves.

So on their way out I asked the little girl if she'd like a brand new book to check out, if that would make leaving the library any easier. With the tears still on her face and her breath hitching, she accepted the book solemnly. (It's the pink hair, folks, I don't kid myself)

But when the mom saw the title, she cracked up. Me too, I have to say. Noah doesn't want to leave when mom (wearing very sassy boots, I note appreciatively) says it's time. On each page he communicates "NO!" in a different way - via text message and tin can telephone, in Mongolian, Zulu, Tagalog and Robot, through heiroglyphics and by means of a vigorous head-shake. Noah is accessorized or contextualized appropriately for each utterance, until, on one page, a thousand Noahs sit in the seats of a boisterous U.N., all voicing their disapproval.

Endpaper bonus: Noah a thousand times (not really), in all his different hats.

Kiwi Magazine
Organic milk came shooting out of my nose when I read this book. How many ways can a diaper-wearing tot with curly-Q hair say “No”? Well, at least a thousand ways. But, here’s the dilemma—if we read this book to a tot, will it give them more tricks in their well-stocked arsenal of evasion tactics? Will your tot start saying no in foreign languages including pig latin? Well, it’s worth the risk of reading this fun frolic through the land of no. It is most definitely a tale of a universal parenting experience, so we give it one big YES.

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