The New York Times Book Review
Black is a comedian and actor…when not writing children's books…and he tells his story in sprightly fashion. The illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi convincingly draws a child full of life, a potato full ofwell, potatotude, and computer drawings that look just like good old-fashioned linocuts. Her smart cartoony artwork matches Black's perfect comic timing, making for a fun ride that should leave you amused, perhaps pensive, and no longer bored.
It looks to be the ultimate ennui smackdown: a bored-out-of-her-gourd kid vs. an equally jaded potato. Then the potato accuses the girl of being the source of its boredom. “What are you talking about?” demands the feisty pigtailed human. “Kids are fun!” “Prove it,” says the potato. And almost as fast as you can say “reverse psychology,” the girl shows that she is in fact a wellspring of fun: playing games, doing “ninja kicks” and other acrobatics, turning ordinary objects into fantastic props (an overturned laundry basket becomes a snow-capped mountain in her imagination), and engaging in pretend play that encompasses everything from being a ballerina to... a potato. “Boring,” responds the potato each time, before the girl storms off. But not to worry: what goes around comes around. Black (A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea) keeps this simple concept funny all the way through its final, LOL zinger. Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain. Ages 3–8. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Ginger Knowlton, Curtis Brown. (Aug.)
The New York Times Sunday Book Review
"Black...tells his story in sprightly fashion. The illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi convincingly draws a child full of life, a potato full of — well, potatotude, and computer drawings that look just like good old-fashioned linocuts. Her smart cartoony artwork matches Black’s perfect comic timing, making for a fun ride that should leave you amused, perhaps pensive, and no longer bored."
The Globe & Mail
"Beautifully written by Michael Ian Black and gorgeously illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi... It has the courage to go unfashionably old-school and suggest that our imagination, not our gadgets, is the only cure [for boredom].... Both the writing and the illustrations are fearless."
Quill & Quire
"Fans of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie series will delight in the latest book by American comedian Michael Ian Black, illustrated by Toronto graphic artist Debbie Ridpath Ohi. Echoing Willems, Black’s story is constructed around the dialogue of an unlikely couple, in this case a small girl and a potato. The text is perfectly complemented by Ohi’s quirky minimalist drawings."
From the Publisher
* "Black (A Pig Parade Is a Terrible Idea) keeps this simple concept funny all the way through its final, LOL zinger. Debut illustrator Ohi’s minimalist, scraggly digital drawings are anything but boring, and speak volumes about irritation, desperation, and disdain."Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Genuinely funny moments.... [The girl] demonstrates cartwheels, ninja kicks and imagination games—lion taming; dragons and swords; forcing the potato to walk a pirate-ship plank—all of which Ohi sketches in pale blue."Kirkus Reviews
TheNew York Times Sunday Book Review
A Notable Children's Book Of 2012
A kid and a tuber dispute what is and isn't boring, to no particular avail. The beginning's fun. A scowling, cartoon-style girl with a large head and sideways pigtails flops from one dramatic posture to another, complaining, "I'm bored. / Bored. Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. / I'm so BORED!" White space surrounds her. From nowhere, a potato appears. This girl must really live in white-space-land, because she's initially thrilled: "Hey! A potato!" Then she rejects it and tosses it upwards. It falls, bonks her on the head and sits on the ground. "I'm bored," announces the suddenly anthropomorphic potato in one of two genuinely funny moments. Previously unable to entertain herself, the girl labors to prove she's interesting. She demonstrates cartwheels, ninja kicks and imagination games--lion taming; dragons and swords; forcing the potato to walk a pirate-ship plank--all of which Ohi sketches in pale blue. The surly potato stubbornly remains bored. Their argument ends without satisfaction or vindication; the girl yells, mouth wide and black like in Peanuts, and departs in frustration. There's one more funny moment--not the appearance of a random flamingo (flamingos being, inexplicably, the potato's only interest in life), but the flamingo's closing complaint. Yep: "I'm bored." Turnabout's fair play, but the whole piece feels like a smarmy lesson about how annoying it is when someone insists on boredom. Ironically, boring. (Picture book. 3-5)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
"I'm bored" is the all too often heard complaint of our heroine. When presented with a potato, she wonders what to do with it. To her surprise, the potato states that he is bored also, since he has to hang out with boring kids. He is more interested in flamingoes. Our heroine challenges him, saying "kids are fun!" "Prove it," is the reply. She tries: she skips, she spins, she plays games. She tries imagining and behaving like everything from a ballerina to a lion tamer. "Kids can do anything." "Boring," is his constant reply. She furiously demands how he can think kids are boring when they do and think all these amazing things. Appreciating her life at last she notes, "I'd rather be a kid than a potato any day!" And off she goes, bored no longer. The potato, left behind, is delighted to see a flamingo, only to hear him say, "I'm bored." Readers are unlikely to get bored reading about the charming narrator's activities. Digitally produced cartoon-y colored drawings plus the minimal text convey the simple story. But Ohi manages to invest considerable personality even in the potato. End pages displaying variations of the word "bored" in about a dozen typefaces reinforce the theme. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Languishing on the floor of her bedroom in a funk, a girl is momentarily distracted by a potato, but then laments, "What am I supposed to do with a potato?!!" In a funny twist, the testy tater complains about being stuck hanging out with a child. The youngster's ire is raised and she enthusiastically takes up the challenge of proving that children are anything but dull. Her cartwheels, ninja kicks, imaginary lion-taming adventures, and proclamations that "Kids can do ANYTHING!!!" all fail to impress the blank-faced spud, who delivers the same verdict-"Boring…Snoring." In the last laugh, the potato does get its comeuppance. Ohi's captivating, digitally created illustrations are full of wit and charm. The girl appears as a blue swirling cyclone with pigtails flying, hands sticking out, and a pink heart as she spins in circles. The text size and layout also keep pace with her frenetic antics. Quirky and fun to read aloud, this book is a sure antidote for cases of ennui.—Linda Ludke, London Public Library, Ontario, Canada