Things That Sometimes Happen: Very Short Stories for Little Listeners


Here are a few things that sometimes happen:
An unpopular Black Crayon proves to a Little Girl how useful he really is.
On a very hot day, an Ice-Cream Cone waits...and be eaten.
A Papa ...

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Here are a few things that sometimes happen:
An unpopular Black Crayon proves to a Little Girl how useful he really is.
On a very hot day, an Ice-Cream Cone waits...and be eaten.
A Papa catches cold, so his Little Boy gets to go to work instead!
These nine very short stories for very young readers — culled from Newbery Honor author Avi's first book and illustrated by Caldecott Honor artist Marjorie Priceman — ingeniously capture the funny, surprising spirit of a child's imagination.

A collection of nine brief stories from the author's first book, including such titles as "The Hippopotamus's Car," "The Melting Ice-cream Cone," and "The Black Crayon."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dubbed "very short stories for little listeners," this selection culled from the author's 1970 debut book of the same name is paired with effervescent all-new art. Exuberant silliness buoys each of the nine brief tales, including a high-concept yarn about an underutilized and disgruntled black crayon who finally convinces a young artist to put him in the picture, and a romp that finds a boy and his cat swapping outrageous tall tales about their day ("I went out West, looking for tigers. If you don't believe me, look how dirty my hands are. It's dirty work, looking for tigers"). A generously sized format affords Priceman (Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin) plenty of room to coax maximum mileage out of all the fun. Expansive watercolors explode in a glorious burst of color and energy atop the ample white space, as brush strokes swoop and swirl and twine a series of droll spot illustrations around the text. An inspired pairing. Ages 3-7. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-Culled from a longer collection of the same name (Doubleday, 1970; o.p.) and newly illustrated, these nine brief stories combine the whimsical magic of nursery rhymes with the familiarities of everyday life, fashioning a fanciful world that invites young imaginations to soar. The anything-can-happen tone is set in the title piece, in which a boy and his cat meet at lunchtime and compare their morning adventures, which include a visit to the North Pole, a tiger hunt, and an encounter with a bunch of fur-grooming monkeys. In "Small Between the Rain," a youngster shrinks himself down to a size that enables him to run between the raindrops, but he ends up falling into a puddle. In "Going to Work," a boy takes his sick father's place on the job. Told in simple language and packed with child appeal, these tantalizing tales are neatly tied together by Priceman's glorious gouache illustrations. Capricious and colorful, the artwork swirls around the text, providing lots of eye-catching action, intriguing visual surprises, and a needed sense of continuity. With their loose lines, flowing curves, and bright color combinations, the pictures have a childlike quality that matches the tone of wonder that infuses the stories. This is a great choice for sharing aloud, and for inspiring children to describe the things that sometimes happen to them and create their own tales.-Joy Fleishhacker, formerly at School Library Journal Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Avi at his most Margaret Wise Brown-esque, in nine offbeat, gnomic tales, drawn from the 30 in his first, same-named collection (1970). Sounding very much like the stories that children would make up themselves, these are daffy and nonsensical, starting and ending in odd places and going sort of nowhere in the middle. The result, however, is inevitably a sly grin. In the title story, a boy and a cat compare notes about their days-" 'I went out West, looking for tigers. If you don't believe me, look how dirty my hands are . . . ' The Cat said, 'Oh, sorry you were gone. While you were gone chasing tigers, a dragon came and ate all my food.' " Subsequently, a pair of girls dig "Tunnels" to China, and other tales pose such unusual problems as an elephant trying to drink water from a glass, a hippo striving to fit into a new car, and a Story searching for an end. Priceman (Little Red Riding Hood, not reviewed, etc.) also looks to her influences, with bright, swirling, vigorously brushed scenes reminiscent of color-drenched Chagall. These cheerfully unconventional, irresistibly buoyant episodes will brighten any young child's outlook-and cheer up some adults, too. (Short stories. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689839146
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 12.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Avi is the author of more than fifty books for children and young adults, including the 2003 Newbery medal winner Crispin: The Cross of Lead. He has won two Newbery Honors and many other awards for his fiction. He lives with his family in Denver, Colorado. Visit him at

Marjorie Priceman, illustrator of many acclaimed picture books, has won Caldecott Honors for her illustrations in Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! by Lloyd Moss and Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the Frist Hot-Air Balloon Ride, which she also wrote. She lives in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Avi Wortis (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      December 23, 1937
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, New York
    1. Education:
      University of Wisconsin; M.A. in Library Science from Columbia University, 1964
    2. Website:

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