In spite of the best intentions, some things just don’t happen like they should … and, like young Neel, we’re usually ready with the Excuses Excuses! Neel announces daily the various ways he’ll improve himself: “On Monday Neel decided / He’d be in time for school … On Wednesday he decided / To be a helpful son …,” all the way to Sunday when “he decided / That he would mend his ways / Then suddenly he realized / That he’d run out of days.”
In spite of Neel’s tenacious attempts at betterment, on Monday his “clock began to tick / In an anti-clockwise way” just to make him late again. Instead of being a helpful son on Wednesday, he brings home a canine friend instead. His Sunday intentions land him in the corner for “[a] day to be sorry …,” no attention given to his protestations of “It’s not at all fair!”
Poor Neel, no matter how much “he explained how he really tried / What deeply grieved him / Was no one believed him. / Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! they cried.” But lucky for his tenacious, and not a little mischievous spirit, “There’s no cause for sorrow, / I’ll start once again – It’s a new week tomorrow!” Here’s to the inspiring determination of youth, indeed!
Excuses hits shelves next month from Tara Books, a fabulous picture book publisher based in South India, with titles readily available Stateside through distribution by Publishers Group West. Peruse Tara’s website and you’ll see that the indie press brings together “a growing tribe of adventurous people from around the world” to create wondrously eye-popping titles.
In Excuses, Gabrielle Manglou, an artist from the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, uses a combination of photographs, watercolor, graffiti, and other media to uniquely enhance the imaginatively catchy rhythms of Indian children’s poet and veteran kiddie author Anushka Ravishankar. Art and text – intertwined with balanced whimsy – imbue Neel’s tall tales with colorful energy and unlimited creativity. Not to mention just good ol’ fun, fun, fun.
We can only hope our children eventually learn a wee bit more veracity, although surely not at the cost of ever losing that contagious vivacity … no matter how taxing (couldn’t resist!) real life might become!
Published: 2012 (United States)