You Can't Be Too Careful!

Current Stock: 1
UPC: 9780914671640
Author: Roger Mello
  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 760 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Elsewhere Editions (April 4, 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0914671642
  • ISBN-13: 978-0914671640
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.4 x 10.1 inches

The White Rose is guarded closely by the gardener, who once caught a cold walking barefoot trying to find his shoes, which had been hidden by a cat, which was a gift from his younger brother, who was married to Dalva, who had inherited the cat from her uncle, who died of a broken heart awaiting a love letter that never arrived... Eventually, we see how one tiny action can have marvelous consequences, and the story turns like a ferris wheel. With a playful lightness of touch, Mello explores serious questions about the importance of kindness and the dangers of greed. Mello's illustrations will inspire his young readers, providing them with familiar and approachable images while encouraging imagination to fill in the narrative gaps, as he captures the mysteries of childhood through rich, vibrant imagery.


Gr 2–5—The first book published in the United States by the 2014 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award is a thought-provoking exploration of the impact of kindness and greed. A barefoot gardener is meticulously guarding "White Rose," as she "might escape from her pen." We find out that the gardener's lack of shoes is the result of a long string of mishaps that are traced through a myriad of characters of all class levels, from workers to rajahs. Readers are propelled forward by text that spreads across the top of the pages' white background in a handwritten-style font, while the Brazilian author/illustrator's alluring collage and colored pencil images show the varied characters and their connected worlds. They come to a halt when they realize that everyone's misfortunes are linked to a missing compass. Someone whispers the suggestion that White Rose has hidden it, but readers are rewarded when they discover that White Rose couldn't have stolen the compass, as she is still "safely in her pen," and they are propelled back out, seeing everyone's fates changed in more positive ways. The story is open-ended, leaving children the chance to imagine what might come next but also wanting to return to the beginning to see how all the different pieces shift and come together. VERDICT A title for contemplative readers and those who like brainteasers while being left to ponder the deeper issues of connections and consequences. This one will warrant multiple readings.—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR

"Elegant linework mixes with torn paper and soft, textured colors as a parade of luminous, exotic caricatures and their accoutrements unfold against a white backdrop; the effect is magical. The interactions probe issues around wealth, possession, and compassion. Mello's plot is made all the more mind-boggling with framing and intermediary scenes that are either voiced by an unreliable narrator or require fresh listening and looking. Complex and provocative." — Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

"[S]tunning works that will stir the imagination and peak the curiosity of young and old readers alike ... a marvel of art, story, and imagination." — The Gazette (Iowa)

"You Can’t Be Too Careful! is a study of the interconnectedness of life, and it does so in spectacular fashion. Roger Mello’s illustrations are a combination of complex colored-pencil drawings and torn paper, creating otherworldly spreads that immediately pull you in. Each illustration is perfectly paired with just enough text to prime your imagination." — Jessica Harrison, Cracking the Cover

"Unapologetically colorful, almost Carnaval-like, and filled with all sorts of wonderful people, creatures, and places. Even the covers are works of art in their own right."-- Literary Vittles

"For the past 20 years, [Mello] has colored his way into the imaginations of children across this outsize country, turning tropical plants and beasts into mythical idylls, while reviving forgotten folklore." -- Vocativ

"Mello's striking use of color and intricate design captivates his viewers and leaves them thinking about his images long after viewing them. It is impossible to glance briefly at Mello's art; each viewing of his intricate and colorful works brings to the surface different viewing experiences, and he has a knack for drawing his readers/viewers into his images. [Mello] is passionate about storytelling, and he does not underestimate the developing understandings of children. He avoids heavy didactic or moralizing overtones, and instead encourages his readers to draw their own conclusion based on the images and narrative at hand." -- Samantha Christensen

"Complex and dizzying, You Can’t Be Too Careful! features a vast set of characters whose actions and inactions are all tightly knit together. The book is a dramatic lesson in logic and consequence. A love letter gets lost because of a man’s ridiculous mustache; a man who’s on the verge of death lives—because his monkey ran away from the circus, because the world fell on the floor. See what I mean?" — Quartz