• Happy birthday Emily Arnold McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) and Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith (Cinco De Mayo: Celebrating the Traditions of Mexico).
  • Best birthday wishes also go to choreographer Twyla Tharp. Read To Dance: A Ballerina’s Graphic Novel by Siena Cherson Siegel and Mark Siegel.
  • It’s the birth date of French aviator Louis Blériot (1872-1936). Read The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louise Blériot by Alice and Martin Provensen.
  • It’s the birthday of the zip code, inaugurated in 1963. Hence, it’s Zip Code Day. Read Zip by Bruce Brooks and The Unbreakable Code by Sara Hunter, illustrated by Julia Miner.

For some reason, although it is summertime, things seem busier than ever during the month of July. I suppose I always secretly long for the summers I remember from my youth—with long periods of unstructured time. New Englanders tend to cram six months of living into the days of sunshine. But when I feel frantic, I pull out our book of the day, Tony Fucile’s Let’s Do Nothing! I first encountered this 2009 gem in one of Judy Freeman’s amazing book workshops. In fact, every time I read it aloud, I hear Judy’s enthusiastic voice.

Two very believable friends, Frankie and Sal, begin to think about what to do. Sal, tall and thin, and Frankie, short, plump, and with glasses, have been busy. They have played every sport, “painted more pictures in a day than Van Gogh did in a lifetime,” and read every comic book. So they decide to do ten seconds of nothing.

Then these hyper, action-oriented protagonists plot how they will accomplish the goal of doing nothing. They’ll sit in chairs, not moving an inch, and pretend to be statues. Unfortunately, Frankie has an overactive imagination; at first he must shoo away the pigeons that are attacking him. When they attempt to be redwood trees, Frankie imagines a dog going to the bathroom on him. And as they conjure up the Empire State Building, King Kong moves into the picture. But eventually Sal, the brains of the operation, comes to a surprising moment of insight: It is impossible to do nothing. And so the two set out to cause their usual mayhem and madness.

In his debut book Tony Fucile creates two believable young boys and a very funny story, great to read aloud. The text has been enhanced by the cartoon-style art, created in ink, colored pencil, and acrylic. The illustrations not only capture the personalities of the two protagonists but contain a great deal of the story line as well. Before Tony Fucile published this book, he worked as a film animator on classics such as The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, Finding Nemo, and Ratatouille. Hence, like picture book superstars Mo Willems, Jon Klassen, and Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Fucile brings his animation skills to the printed page.

If you or the young readers in your life have been too busy this summer, decide to do nothing today. But before you do, pick up this delightful romp of a picture book dedicated to sloth. It may be hard to get to do nothing—you will probably be begged for another reading.

Here’s a page from Let’s Do Nothing:

Let's Do Nothing Image


Originally posted July 1, 2013. Updated for .

Tags: Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Let’s Do Nothing


  1. Susannah Borysthen-Tkacz says:

    I can’t wait to go look at the rest of this book. The details and facial expressions in this drawing alone have hooked me. Also, forgive me for finding like an old curmudgeon, but many “kids these days” could benefit from some examples of unstimulated, unstructured time. Goodnight, iPad!

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