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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Who said, "I hate you?"

Oh My! Someone said it! They actually printed the words I HATE YOU! on the front cover of a children’s book. Isn’t this the equivalent of using those bad words like The Day Leo Said I Hate You!"Shut up" and "butt"? Which, by the way, were not bad words when I was growing up like they are to most of the parents around me now in Nashville. Still, Little, Brown & Co. are publishing The Day Leo Said I HATE YOU! which is written by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Molly Bang. It’s being released September 1, 2008 and needs to go on your book orders NOW. I’m thinking multiple copies and awards coming soon.

Bravo! A little controversy is good for you and promotes communicating. Parents really need this book and shouldn’t dodge the issue any more. Kids have negative emotions, too. This will be an excellent family read aloud. You may see some parents sneak it out of the library because they would never acknowledge that their children get angry with them. Hah! I have 4 boys. I know better.

I’m happy that Robie Harris has written this because I am a big fan of her older books It’s Perfectly Normal  and It’s So Amazing! Sorry, folks, you won’t have a huge book challenge with this one. This is a perfect book for our younger crowd. I will even be able to use it in schools

Molly Bang! WOW! Molly has outdone herself with the illustrations in this book. I’m a big fan of Molly Bang’s so this means this is a star book. I am so fascinated with her use of collage, photographs, and telling multiple stories in a single page. The toy animals help readers react with the text and have a life of their own. I found myself investigating every page to see what was drawn, what was photographed, what was "real" or not. The broccoli page may be one of my favorites. You will have to see it to believe it.

The designers of this picture book have surpassed my dreams of how to handle this topic. I love the text and every detail of the way the words appear on a page. I’m reading this from a review copy so the loose pages keep falling over the sofa. Still, I was hooked when I opened the cover to see the simple drawing on the end pages. Such emotion conveyed with a single drawing. The drawing on the back end pages is so different and I look forward to sharing this with young audiences so we can examine all the design elements. What? You’re worried about dissecting a picture book? Don’t be. This one is a wonderful read. Go straight through the first time, then go back and savor it. I can’t wait to ask students which page is their favorite. 

This title excited me so much that I didn’t even stop to see what the biblioblogosphere is saying about it. I didn’t care. I loved this hate book so much that I had to interrupt my morning to tell you to go get it. Perhaps it’s because I’m working with teens and tweens now that my perception of being hated has sharpened. I’m entering the arena of crazy emotions much like preschool emotions so I need a few tools. Thanks, Robie and Molly for an excellent title.


  1. I heard that there was some fear that Barnes and Noble wouldn’t carry the book because of the title. Bravo to everyone involved with such a gutsy move then.