Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review: Even If I Did Something Awful

A Fair Trade Book

Title: Even If I Did Something Awful

Author: Barbara Shook Hazen

Date: 1981

Publisher: Atheneum

ISBN: 0-689-30843-4

Length: pages not numbered, but 28 pages of picture-book story

Illustrations: drawings by Nancy Kincade

Quote: “Mommy, do you love me?”

The speaker is a little girl who has just thrown a ball, indoors, and knocked a vase off the mantelpiece. By way of a confession she’s asking if her mother would still love her if she’d done other things…“even if you gave the baby away,” the mother assures her, wondering what the kid’s done this time.

As with most picture books, pictures are a large part of this one’s charm. The drawings are shaded not colored; there’s a bath scene that has to have been inspired by Kay Thompson’s Eloise (not on the cover of the paperback, which is what I have, but shown on the hardcover edition, pictured above). If you want to time-travel back to 1981, the fashionable clothes and furniture in these pictures will help.

There’s not much plot about Even If I Did Something Awful, no suspense whatsoever. If a hug could be a book, this is the book it could be (and the mother and child hug in the last picture). I’ve not tested it, but I’m guessing it was meant to be read to small children before bed. For that purpose it's won a Christopher Award.

Barbara Shook Hazen is still alive, so this is still a Fair Trade Book: buy it here for $5 per book + $5 per package + $1 per online payment, and we'll send $1 per book to Hazen or the charity of her choice. She's written several warmly reviewed children's books; many were thin and odd-sized. Check out her web site to save shipping charges, since at least six books of the size of Even If I Did Something Awful would fit into one package for a total of $35 (postal money order to P.O. Box 322, you pay the surcharge to the post office) or $36 (e-mail to the Paypal address our Message Squirrel Saloli will send you, and we pay the surcharge to Paypal).