Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton is an excellent choice for preschoolers, particularly those who like dogs. George is a big dog who lives with a small person (sporting a monster-ish look) named Harry. When Harry goes out he asks George to be good in his absense. George has every intention of being good, but it turns out that the day is filled with temptations. Like a cake to eat, a cat to chase, and dirt to dig. By the time Harry returns, despite the best of George's intentions, the house is a wreck, and there is no cake left. George does, however, feel remorse, and he does (at least for a little while) learn from his mistakes.
Oh No, George! is aimed straight at preschoolers who understand what good behavior is expected of them, but sometimes have trouble living up to parental expectations. When confronted by Harry after making a big mess, George cries, and offers up his favorite toy as penance, for example. Harry accepts George's apology, and suggests a nice walk. Oh No, George! never feels messagey, however, because Haughton keeps the focus on George's feelings.
Haughton also asks the reader questions, encouraging the reader to predict George's behavior. Like this:
"George sees something in the kitchen.
It's cake! I said I'd be good, George thinks, but I LOVE cake.
What will George do?"
My 2 1/2 year old LOVES predicting George's bad behavior, part of that universal love of mischief, I think. But at the end of the book, when there's an open question about whether or not George will behave, she has complete faith that he will. (Of course she also believes that the rabbit "ran away" at the end of I Want My Hat Back. Me, I'm a bit more cynical).
Haughton works as a designer, and his pencil and digital media illustrations have a unique feel. He uses vibrant colors (lots of red, orange, and purple), including unconventional choices like making George purple and red, and Harry blue and green. The backgrounds have an abstract feel, with Haugton using impressions more than details. These bold illustrations should work well for the youngest of readers.
© 2012 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).