Parents will be quick to jump to the conclusion that there can be nothing appealing in a tale of an ugly kid who breaks things. And certainly--from that adult perspective--there's something off-putting about the illustrations of David, with his potato head, feral eyes, and a maniacal grin that exposes ferociously pointed teeth. But 3- and 4-year-olds see things differently, and will find his relentless badness both funny and liberating.
"No, David," wails the off-stage mother, as David reaches for the cookie jar. "No! No! No!" as he makes a swamp out of the bathroom. "Come back here, David!" as he runs naked down the street. Each vivid double-page illustration is devoted to a different youthful indiscretion and a different vain parental plea.
Readers will be amused to know that the protagonist's name is no accident: award-winning writer-illustrator David Shannon wrote the book after discovering a similar effort that he had made, again with himself at the center of each drawing, at the age of 5.