Uh-Oh! is a picture book about a young dinosaur in which just about the only words are "uh-oh!". Our dinosaur friend seems unable to avoid getting into scrapes. He'll be cleaning up a mess that he just made, and knock something else over with the back of the broom. He'll jump out of the way of one problem, and up-end a shelf of china. And so on. Sometimes his messes are inadvertent results of good intentions. Other times, it must be confessed, they result from pure mischief.
I think that kids will enjoy the fact that there's no moral message here. The little dinosaur gets in trouble, and gets a timeout at the end, but his spirit is unquenched. It's clear that more mischief will be on tap tomorrow, if not sooner.
Mary Newell DePalma does a good job of capturing a child's mad scramble to fix things, and the wide-eyed moment of "uh-oh!" when things don't go well. The illustrations feature a series of small insets, each capturing a tiny part of the larger story. Uh-Oh! reads a bit like a graphic novel, actually. My favorite part is when the dinosaur decides to put a dirty run into the dishwasher. An inset blown up with a magnifying glass highlights the words "Do not overfill soapdish" on the detergent. Astute readers can guess what happens next.
DePalma's dinosaur is spotted and cute, with a range of expressions. The color palette is bright and cheerful (and appropriately green-tinged). My only complaint about the illustrations is that all of the dinosaurs look rather similar, even in size, and it's hard to tell sometimes which is the protagonist vs. his older siblings vs. the parents. I'm not sure how this could have been remedied (perhaps more done with scale), but it makes the book a bit hard to follow, especially on the first couple of reads.
Still, Uh-Oh! is a fun read that celebrates, with affection, the accidental and deliberate trouble-making that comes with toddler-hood. Recommended especially for preschoolers, and their weary parents.
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (@eerdmansbooks)
Publication Date: May 27, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.