Fucile, T. (2009). Let's Do Nothing. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Appetizer: Frankie and Sal have played every game and done every activity that they can think of. So, they decide to try to do nothing. Absolutely NOTHING. As the boys pretend to be statues, trees and other still objects, they discover that doing nothing is much harder than they ever imagined.
I love the way that this picturebook shows characters using their imaginations to help try to feel empowered to accomplish their goal.
I found the relationship between Frankie and Sal to be interesting and realistic. It's one of the friendships where one of the kids is clearly the leader and the other the follower.
I liked the sense of imagination that the illustrations incorporated, showing how Frankie and Sal become the objects they imagine being. But having said that, I also like how sparse the illustrations that are set in reality are. Most of them just feature the boys and their chairs. It shows how their world is a canvas for them to imagine.
"What are we going to do now, Frankie?"
"I don't know, Sal."
"Ok, ok. Let's stop talking for ten seconds.
All right. Ten seconds of nothing.
"How do we do nothing? Simple. We sit down in these chairs and we do not move. Not an inch. Not a fraction of an inch. Zero movement. NOTHING."
To Go with the Meal:
Visual literacy is essential for this book. Children need to recognize different fonts to determine who is speaking and to see the characters' emotions.
This would be a wonderful book to use with early grade students who claim to be bored or believe that there's nothing to do. This would be an EXCELLENT read aloud response that can distract kids from their boredom.
For older, middle grade, students a teacher could encourage a philosophical question about whether it is actually possible to do nothing and want constitutes "nothing." (I'd argue pretending to be a statue or tree is still doing something.)
Since the picturebook is constructed as a dialogue, a teacher could have more fluent readers (or students who have memorized the text) play the parts of Frankie and Sal.
Tasty Rating: !!!!