Off Limits

Off Limits
Helen Yoon
Walker Books

A father leaves his home-office unattended and who should decide to explore within, despite the ‘OFF-LIMITS sign on the door (shown on the title page) but his small daughter.

Disregarding her own “Hello, I’m just looking’, the first thing she makes use of in this thoroughly neat and tidy room is the sticky tape convincing herself that nobody would miss just ‘one teeny-tiny piece’.

However, it’s not difficult, especially for adults, used to young children making creative use of anything and everything, to understand so well that before long our protagonist has adorned the angle-poise lamp, the stapler and herself, not merely with tape but also with paperclips, bulldog clips and sticky notes: joy oh joy!

Before you can say “La laaa lala da la” the child is totally engulfed in an eddying pastel coloured whirlwind.
Suddenly though a realisation dawns upon our playful young lady. “Uh-oh. I’m in so much trouble” she tells readers as she tiptoes back to the haven of her own bedroom wherein an unexpected surprise awaits …

Simply told with perfect pacing and illustrated with superbly droll mixed media scenes of the escalating chaos unfolding behind closed doors, this book pays tribute to the power of play and the endless possibilities it offers to us all. Young children will absolutely delight in the forbidden deed with its escalating chaos, as well as both the pleasure and the possibility of being caught as the mischief mounts. Most of all though, I suspect they’ll love the final grand reveal and it’s contrast between that and the first wordless spread.