- Off-Limits by Helen Yoon
Trade ed. ISBN 9781536207316 $17.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 3-7 yrs
When Dad posts the “Off-Limits” sign on his office door, it naturally motivates our pigtailed protagonist to check the place out. She starts off innocently with just one little peek, but the tape is there, just waiting to be unrolled; the paper clips are prime material for chain making; the legal pads would be far better as banners; and the sticky notes—oh, the colors. Soon our resourceful crafter has transformed the drab office into a wonder world of office supplies made anew, but it’s change that won’t be easily hidden from Dad. Yoon’s digital art is a riot of movement and color as the sturdy lines of an orderly desk give way to arcs, circles, and curlicues, but interestingly the final makeover of the room still holds a fair amount of angled geometry and balance, making the little girl’s final product a work of art and not [End Page 38] just a mess to be tidied. Perspective is also cleverly utilized, as a bird’s-eye view of our spinning kiddo lends joyful verve to her exclamations, “Paper clips and binder clips! Binder clips and paper clips!” After some short, one-sided discussion with familiar office accoutrements (“Why, hello, Mr. Lamp!”), the text is rather minimal, relying on the dynamic illustrations to convey emotion—which they do with aplomb. For many families, the home office/classroom has become a staple in the house this past year, and this is a lovely reminder that it doesn’t have to always be used for work and no play.
[End Page 39]