word craft


Things That Sometimes Happen

Things That Sometimes Happen

illus. by Mar­jorie Price­man
Anne Schwartz Books
Scholas­tic, 2002

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What’s this book about?

Here are a few things that some­times happen:

Hap­py Things: an unpop­u­lar Black Cray­on proves to a Lit­tle Girl how use­ful he real­ly is.

Sad Things: on a very hot day, an Ice-Cream Cone waits … and waits … to be eaten.

Excit­ing Things: a Papa catch­es cold, so his Lit­tle Boy gets to go to work instead!

These nine very short sto­ries for very young readers—culled from New­bery Hon­or author Avi’s first book and illus­trat­ed by Calde­cott Hon­or artist Mar­jorie Priceman—ingeniously cap­ture the fun­ny, sur­pris­ing spir­it of a child’s imagination.

Story Behind the Story

In the late six­ties, I was try­ing to be a writer. The best of my achieve­ments was that I did have an agent. But I was also doing many oth­er things. Among such things was a car­toon­ist; not as an artist, but a doo­dler. So it was that I doo­dled a bunch of humor­ous note cards (which were pub­lished) at a time when such was some­what unusual.

A friend of mine announced she want­ed to write a book for kids, and would I illus­trate it. Her work was some kind of non-fic­tion, for which my art was, in fact, com­plete­ly inap­pro­pri­ate. Regard­less, I said, “I’m not an artist, but if you want to show what I do along with your idea, go ahead.”

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Awards and Recognition

  • Fam­i­ly Fun, Best Books of the Year, 2002


“Avi at his most Mar­garet Wise Brown-esque, in nine off­beat, gnom­ic tales, drawn from the 30 in his first, same-named col­lec­tion (1970) … these are daffy and non­sen­si­cal … with bright, swirling, vig­or­ous­ly brushed scenes rem­i­nis­cent of col­or-drenched Cha­gall. These cheer­ful­ly uncon­ven­tion­al, irre­sistibly buoy­ant episodes will bright­en any young child’s outlook—and cheer up some adults too.” (Kirkus Reviews)

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