Imagine if, one day a year, everything that anyone drew ... came to life! What you would have would be Doodleday, by Ross Collins. As Harvey's mother heads out to run errands, she warns him not to do any drawing, because today is Doodleday. She doesn't explain why, however. And the next thing you know, there's a "fat, hairy, and ENORMOUS" fly "destroying the kitchen." Harvey does what any right-minded kid would do, of course. He tries to draw something else, to take care of the fly. And then the situation gets completely out of hand. Not to worry, though. Mom comes home in time to save the day. And Harvey learns to never draw anything on Doodleday.
It's a fun premise. Not completely original, perhaps (Bill Thomson's CHALK comes to mind as a recent book with a similar concept), but executed with enthusiasm and humor. Collins uses lots of varied text sizes, with bold phrases for emphasis, and words sometimes shown at angles. In general, the text is formatted to add emphasis to whatever is happening. Like this:
"As soon as Harvey finished drawing, he heard a terrifying
There above the house was Harvey's bird.
And there was Mr. Bagshaw's fence,
being turned into a nest.
Mr. Bagshaw wasn't happy at all..."
The "squawk" is in huge, curving letters.
Collins interlays regular colored backgrounds (perhaps computer-generated?) with crayon sketches of Harvey's doodles. So, the above features the crayon outline of a giant bird, with a more realistic-looking fence in its beak. It's a bit hard to describe, but effective at separating out the doodles-come-to-life from real life.
Harvey is a hapless, tow-headed boy in a vest. And his mom is basically a superhero (in an yellow mini-dress that could almost be an apron, and matching cowboy boots). The havoc wreaked by the doodles is everywhere.
The idea of a day when everything one draws comes to life is appealing (if a bit horrifying for Harvey is practice). Doodleday the holiday is a neat idea (and a neat word, I think). Doodleday the book is an energetic story, likely to appeal to 4-8 year old doodlers everywhere.
Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Natasha Maw
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).