Book Review: Leave Me Alone! By Vera Brosgol

It’s a busy day. Your “to do” list is growing at alarming rates and you have no idea how you’re actually going to finish everything. Every time you put on your shoes, someone asks that perennial question...Why? “What’s on your shoe? Why are you leaving? Can I have a snack?” On your third attempt to leave the house for an errand run, you start to wonder if you’ll ever even begin that list. We’ve all been there, even Vera Brosgol, author of the picture book, Leave Me Alone!

The book tells the story of an old woman on a simple quest to get some peace and quiet. Winter is on the way, and she needs to finish knitting sweaters for her grandchildren. But among endless questions, and curious youngsters, she can’t get a moment’s peace. She leaves her rowdy homestead and heads to the forest, hoping to find some much needed quiet. Unfortunately, a family of hungry bears finds her, giving her no choice but to leave again. Before she goes, she gives a shout, “Leave me alone!” She tries the mountains, only to find some very troublesome, and hungry, goats. “Leave me alone!” Next, it’s on to the moon. Who else should our grandmother find but some curious aliens. She cannot catch a break! “Leave me alone!” Faced with no alternative, the grandmother is forced to take drastic action and enter the void. She opens a wormhole and is on her way. Quiet at last. She can knit in peace. She finishes her sweaters in no time. There’s just one problem with this’s lonely.  So, she has a cup of tea, packs up her things, and heads back home. Everything is just as she left it and she finds that she doesn’t need to say a thing. She’s home.

The artwork in Leave Me Alone! is every bit as important as the writing. From the thoroughly confused bear to the subtle changes on the old woman’s face, the images tell the story in ways no words could. It’s a rare thing to find a book that appeals to readers both young and old. Kids will love the tiny aliens and the goats eating yarn like spaghetti, and adults will find humor in the old woman’s exasperation...and the tiny aliens and the goats eating yarn like spaghetti.

If you like this book, or are looking for more picture books about solitude and friendship, check out Gus by Olivier Dunrea, Hector and Hummingbird by Nicholas John Frith, or “Alone” in Days With Frog and Toad by Alfred Lobel.

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