Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton (Candlewick, 2012) is a book I can’t quite bring myself to like, and yet my son loves it! Part of my dislike relates to the computer-rendered modern images: the bright orange and red illustrations remind me of computer drawings I attempted years ago and the typeface is also rather ugly. George’s story, however, is one we can all relate to, and it seems many people (and not just children) really like this book.
Haughton begins his book with an easily missed epigram from Epictetus: “. . . No man is free who is not master of himself.” This is the challenge that George the dog has: learning to master his own desires. His owner tells him to not get in trouble, but George is tempted to eat the cake, chase the cat, and otherwise be disobedient. Later, though, he has the chance to decide once more, and he makes the right decisions.
I liked the predictable chant of “Oh no, George!” and I liked how the “oh no” pages required illustrations to help us know the full story. My son (age 5) really liked this book.
Kid review: “I liked the book because George kept getting in to things! It was very silly.”
This book is a 2012 Cybils nominated book.