Author: Mo Willems
Genre: Animal / Drama / Suspense / Humor
Year Published: 2013
Year Read: 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Death)
Mo Willems is truly a pro when it comes to writing children’s books! His previous books “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” “Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale,” and “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” were true masterpieces in their own right and now I have the pleasure of reading his most recent children’s book “That is NOT a Good Idea!”
One day, a hungry fox meets up with a female goose and he invites the goose to dinner! At the same time, there is a group of baby chicks who are warning the goose about not accepting the fox’s dinner invitation during the page breaks by saying:
“That is NOT a Good Idea!”
Now, judging by the extremely short description I just gave out, this book would seem like it is going to be too simple to read through. NO, IT IS NOT! Mo Willems has once again managed to create one hilarious and creative picture book that also gives the readers one heck of a surprise ending! I loved the way that Mo Willems set this book up like a silent movie as there are no dialogue texts on the pictures, but there are dialogue texts on the black pages of the book which also has gorgeous white boxed borders surrounding the pages, giving it an exotic feel. I also loved the baby chicks that show up in between the story as they try to warn the goose about not taking up the fox’s offer for dinner by saying:
“That is NOT a Good Idea!”
I think it is a clever way to get children engaged in the story as they can repeat the saying “That is NOT a Good Idea!” whenever the goose is doing something wrong in the story or whenever the baby chicks come into the story. Mo Willems’ artwork is as usual hilarious and creative to look at as the setting seems to take place in an old Victorian - like town that is mostly shown in brown colorings. I also loved the way that the goose has white feathers and small yellow eyes that make her look innocent and I personally think that the blue scarf on her head added a nice motherly touch to her character. The little chicks were also cute as they have rounded yellow bodies and small black dotted eyes. I really loved the appearance of the fox himself as he is dressed up in elegant clothes and yet he always has a sneaky look on his face which makes you know that he is not to be trusted.
Parents should know that the ending of this book might be a bit too jarring for some small children. Now, I will not tell you what really happened at the end of the book (although it is extremely surprising), but let us just say that the ending is sort of reminiscent of “The Spider and the Fly,” in a sense. For those of you who have read “The Spider and Fly,” you might know exactly what to expect from the ending of this book.
Overall, “That is NOT a Good Idea” is a truly brilliant book from the mastermind of Mo Willems and I am sure that many children who are huge fans of Mo Willems’ work will enjoy this book also! As for a little recommendation, if you want to read a book that also discusses about the dangers of meeting a potential dangerous stranger, then check out “The Spider and Fly.” “That is NOT a Good Idea” and “The Spider and the Fly” are vaguely similar in tone and style (although “That is NOT a Good Idea” is much more hilarious and light-hearted)!