I really identified with the poor bunny crying those words at the beginning of this story.
Accident! is the story of Lola the young armadillo who spills a red drink on a white chair and who, so distraught by her mistake, vows to go live in the library until she’s a grown up. Along the way she meets several other animals who have had their own accidents (including the clumsy bunny who is the worst) and they all head to the library together.
I met Andrea Tsurumi at SPX in 2013, and bought a handful of stickers of her delightful monsters (including a centicorgi, which is exactly what it sounds like). Since then I’ve been idly following her work, and was thrilled to see her debut picture book in our store. I read it on the spot, and lemme tell you it is wonderful.
The illustration style is everything I’ve come to expect from Tsurumi: her thin lines, pastel colors, and somewhat lumpy animals make the whole book feel light and bright and soft. As Lola stumbles through town, Tsurumi treats us to chaotic spreads that look like someone took a Richard Scarry book and shook it all around. There’s a lot going on in these pages and it can seem overwhelming at first, but take a minute to appreciate the motion of these scenes and the jokes hidden in the background.
Story-wise, Tsurumi deals with learning to take responsibility for your actions, helping others, and how to say sorry when you’ve messed up. But this book feels more forgiving than other picture books that deal with these topics, because we feel the full weight of Lola’s guilt. She doesn’t try to lie or cover up her mess, and she isn’t concerned with getting away with it, she just feels bad. In the end when Lola returns home to apologize, her parents aren’t mad, and have even had accidents of their own since Lola has been gone. There’s a refreshing level of compassion in the final pages of the book: Accident! shows that you don’t have to be ashamed when you make a mistake, you just need to apologize, help fix it, and learn.