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The Things I Can Do

The Things I Can Do

4.0 1
by Jeff Mack

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Want to see what Jeff drew? It's a book about him and all the things he can do!

He can make his own lunch! He can get his own drink. He can take his own bath—pretty cool, don't you think?

Get ready for a riotous time as Jeff explains, in words and self-drawn pictures, all the things he can do—in a book he made all by himself!

A Neal Porter


Want to see what Jeff drew? It's a book about him and all the things he can do!

He can make his own lunch! He can get his own drink. He can take his own bath—pretty cool, don't you think?

Get ready for a riotous time as Jeff explains, in words and self-drawn pictures, all the things he can do—in a book he made all by himself!

A Neal Porter Book

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a big departure from his previous work, Mack (Good News, Bad News) has created one of the most tactile-looking picture books in recent memory. Purportedly the work of a round-headed kid named Jeff, it’s a rhyming, crayon-scrawled, devil-may-care collage of all the things that make him an independent agent: “I can make my own lunch./ I can get my own drink./ I can take my own bath!/ Pretty cool don’t you think?” In addition to the standard craft closet materials (construction paper, stickers, white glue, and tape—and lots of it), Jeff sees artistic potential in just about any scrap, including a used paper towel, crumpled paper (an especially effective stand-in for worn underwear), sticky notes (the ideal media for portraying his nonstop raconteurship), actual crayons and pencils, and chewed gum. There’s considerable ingenuity at work and some effective audience pandering (one spread depicts green snot wiped on a sweater), and while the chaotic scenes won’t be to every reader’s taste, the messy free-for-all unmistakably channels Jeff’s creative energy. Ages 5–8. Agent: East West Literary Agency. (June)
From the Publisher

“Rowdy and infectious: Fetch tape and crayons.” —Kirkus Reviews

“A tongue-in-cheek book.” —School Library Journal

“Should inspire art projects.” —BCCB

“This one is all about the laughter.” —Booklist

Children's Literature - Ellen Welty
Jeff is an exuberant child who has written and illustrated a book about his accomplishments. Using crayons, tape, various kinds of paper, magazine cut-outs and stickers, he has illustrated his story. The illustrations reflect the reality while the text, written in couplets, tells the story the way Jeff imagines it. Young readers will delight in the obvious contradiction and adults will appreciate the sly humor reflected in that contradiction. The drawing style is reminiscent of David Shannon’s books about David, but these illustrations incorporate mixed media, making a much more tactile picture. Readers will be tempted to smooth out the wrinkles in the paper and stick the tape down a little better. While the rhyming couplets are fun to read aloud and depict an authenticity in tone and vocabulary, sharp-eyed readers will appreciate the illustrations as well, including the hand-drawn facsimile of the book itself on the bookshelf at the end of the story. Reviewer: Ellen Welty; Ages 5 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 1—Young Jeff has written a tongue-in-cheek book all by himself to show readers all the things he can do. His brief rhymed words, printed in his own hand in black crayon on a collection of colored and lined paper, indicate that he can fix his own lunch, bathe himself, brush his teeth, choose his clothes, brush his hair, tie his shoes, fix broken toys, and even fly. In addition, he's a storyteller who can "talk… and… talk and… talk" if he gets someone to "just listen." Children old enough to get the joke, however, will realize that Jeff's own crayon drawings and the cutout pictures he attaches to his book with big strips of tape provide a very different account of his accomplishments. His lunch is a hot dog, fries, and ice cream; there is more toothpaste on his face than on his teeth; the sweater he chooses is "perfect… for wiping [his] nose"; his underwear lands on his head instead of where it belongs; and his flying feats get him no farther than the couch. This book is best enjoyed one-on-one because there is much to laugh at and talk about, from Jeff's crazy hairdo, tangled laces, and other illustrations that belie his boasts to the globs of glue everywhere, and his final foiled attempt to reach the top shelf. Nancy Viau's Look What I Can Do! (Abrams, 2013) depicts the challenges and accomplishments of young children and animals as they acquire new skills.—Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT
Kirkus Reviews
With boundless energy and bouncing rhyme, a boy shows readers his handmade book--this book--about his burgeoning independence. From making his own lunch and getting his own drink (milk spills down the page), to bathing in the sink and fixing toys with a lake of glue, this boy's on a hilarious tear. Self-portraits race across the spreads, outlined in bold, black crayon. The boy's head and ears evoke Charlie Brown. He's always in motion, and every supply in the house seems to have been commandeered for this project. The multilayered, multimedia collage makes things look real enough to touch (and readers will try): pencils and Popsicle sticks, Legos and paper towels, circular confetti from a hole punch, construction paper and shiny paper and graph paper--and appearing most touchable of all, liberal amounts of cellophane tape, masking tape, duct tape and stickers. Bits of photo stand out amid the childlike art--the spray attachment on a faucet and the boy's teeth while he's brushing them (though not the rest of his face). "I can brush my own teeth. / I can pick out my clothes. // This sweater was perfect!!! / For wiping my nose." A drop of snot (plenty big enough to be seen from a distance) and the underwear on his head will be popular. Rowdy and infectious: Fetch tape and crayons. (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

Roaring Brook Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.20(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Jeff Mack is the author and illustrator of many books for young readers, including Hush Little Polar Bear, Good News, Bad News, and Clueless McGee. He lives in Western Massachusetts, where he wrote the book The Things I Can Do all by himself.

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The Things I Can Do 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
CanadaInker4 More than 1 year ago
Just picking up this book, flipping through the pages and ogling the illustrations will encourage you to get a copy and share it with your kids.  The pictures are so much fun, so packed full of action and expression that it is amazing.  This little guy is overjoyed to show his independence so he crafts  his very own book to document his monumental feats and proudly displays it so all the world can see.      He is able to make his own lunch, get his own drink of milk (although there are milk spills down the page), bath himself (albeit in the kitchen sink with the faucet spray) and mend his toys with copious gobs and blobs of glue.  He is the man!!!! Mr. Self- reliant! Mr. Cellophane, Masking and Duct Tape Warrior!   Fantastic, humorous self-portraits with a huge round head, sticky-out ears and a smile a mile wide shows his bliss as he continues on his journey of .... look what I can do.  He uses everyday "stuff" around the house to create his incredible, tactile collages and photos are embedded here and there to make things very interesting indeed.  My favourite?  "I can brush my teeth, /I can pick out my clothes. // This sweater was perfect!! // For wiping my nose."  A huge big splotch of snot is highlighted which will make your kids giggle and laugh.....and the underwear guy pictured above will have them laughing right out loud.  This spirited little man will win your heart and have you cheering him on as he discovers .... yes I can!!! I am a big boy now!!!!