This is a most beautiful picture book. There is only one word in it, which is not much even for a picture book, but it is enough. The word is ‘no.’ And if you say it as ‘No!’ it might have more impact than you think.
I don’t believe I have come across David McPhail before, but I’m grateful I’ve had the opportunity to read his one word, and to see his marvellous illustrations.
We see a young boy writing a letter and then taking it to the postbox. On the way there he witnesses many atrocities towards ordinary, innocent people, in a way that is sufficiently unreal, that I assume it’s not all happening on his way to post the letter, but rather that they are acts he has seen at some point.
But he’s had enough, so when he meets a bully, he utters the one, magic word. Try it yourself; sometimes it has a surprising effect.
There is something so beautiful about the simplicity of the pictures and the single use of the word ‘no’ that makes this a really special book. It’s a book I’d feel the urge to read to many young children, if only I had access to them.
If you do, please consider No!