#907 – Izzy the Very Bad Burglar by Amy Proud – DEBUT

Today’s unusual holiday is Simplicity Day, an unofficial holiday commemorating the life and work of Henry David Thoreau’s idea of living simply. Thoreau lived and wrote best while living at Walden Pond. Simplicity was the key,

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

Izzy and Frog, the protagonists of today’s book, want to live simple, non-criminal lives. They do not want to live the difficult life of a burglar, even the seemingly easy one of a good burglar (which Izzy is not). I hope you enjoy Izzy the Very Bad Burglar.

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izzythebadburglarcover Izzy the Very Bad Burglar
Written and Illustrated by Amy Proud
Sky Pony Press   5/03/2016
978-1-63450-174-3
32 pages   Ages 3—6

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“Izzy is a very bad at being a burglar.

“Despite being from a family of excellent burglars,
every time Izzy takes something that doesn’t belong to
her, she get a funny feeling in her stomach.

“So Izzy finds ways to make the funny feeling go away.
But as she and her friend, Frog, are busy making beds, washing
dishes, baking sweets, and shampooing poodles, she finds the
funny feeling is still there.

“Will she ever find a way to be a good burglar?”
[back cover]

The Story
Izzy comes from a long line of excellent criminals, including Granny (legendary cat burglar), uncle (world-renowned pickpocket), and baby cousin (infamous bank robber). Izzy is not excellent, nor will she become legendary. Every time she burglarizes a house, Izzy feels funny in her stomach. Izzy tries to tell her parents, but they are not happy with Izzy’s feelings, funny or not.

“Izzy tried to tell her parents about the bad feeling but whenever she mentioned it, they would scowl and grind their teeth and tell her she must be a good burglar.”

Izzy decides to tackle her bad feeling with good deeds. To make amends for her theft, Izzy and her partner, Frog, did something nice for those who owned the homes she burglarizes. Izzy may have taken something from them, but she also gives them something in return, something that hopefully makes them feel good despite the robbery. Izzy’s hopes these actions will also make her funny feelings go away.

ivbbspread1

At first, the plan works. Then the funny feelings return to Izzy’s stomach. Izzy adds her homemade double-chocolate caramel-chunk brownies. Frog adds new plants to brighten up the yard. This helps for a while, but only for a while. The same happens when the two groom the home’s pets. Izzy feels better and then once again bad. There are also side effects. The more Izzy and Frog give back, the longer everything takes, making mom and dad—in the getaway car—upset. Plus Izzy and Frog become very tired. In addition, the once quiet street (the two burglarize), becomes noisier. Frog thinks others are watching them.

“They’re going to throw us in jail!” quivered Frog.

What will Izzy and Frog do? How will Izzy stop the funny feelings in her stomach?

Review
Izzy the Very Bad Burglar will speak to anyone who has ever taken change from mom’s purse, cheated on a test at school, or took the last bite of cake when no one was looking. All those “funny feelings” Izzy has is her conscience speaking to her, telling her what she did was bad. Making up for the stealing by giving back—and taking her victim’s mind off their loss—can only last a short time. Izzy’s stomach knows this, even if Izzy does not (but I think she knows).

ivbbspread2

Izzy’s parents represent peer pressure. Izzy’s role is part of the family tradition, and mom and dad make her feel bad when she doesn’t want to participate, just like some school chums make other kids feel bad if they don’t do as others do. Lucky for Izzy and Frog–and us—Izzy has a lightbulb moment. She realizes her funny feelings go away when she does her good deeds. What if she and Frog’s job becomes one doing good deeds rather than burglarizing. Izzy and Frog do just that, breaking away from the criminal side of her family tree, starting a new and better branch.

I really love Izzy the Very Bad Burglar, despite reading the story as a digital only (someone, somewhere is enjoying a hardback of Izzy the Very Bad Burglar). In my digital copy, the spreads do not line up correctly, but Proud’s blog has some of the spreads correctly formatted. They look terrific, with a sweet, innocent Izzy and her small Frog companion busy making things as right as they possibly can. Throughout, Izzy wears blackish-gray stripes, as if already in prison. I have no doubt young children will love Izzy and Frog. They are as adorable as a criminal duo can become while they clean and bake amends.

ivbbspread3

Amy Proud’s debut entry into picture books shows she has a bright future as a storyteller—verbally and visually. I love Proud’s vision, as seen on her website and blog. Izzy the Very Bad Burglar will speak to kids feeling pushed into actions they do not want to take. Maybe Izzy will help them have their lightbulb moment, realizing a better way exists. Social workers, counselors, teachers, and others working with kids will find Izzy the Very Bad Burglar useful in many ways. Kids in tough situations need an Izzy and Frog on their side and now they have them.

IZZY THE VERY BAD BURGLAR. Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Amy Proud. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Sky Pony Press, New York, NY.

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Find Izzy the Very Bad Burglar on Goodreads HERE.

Amy Proud:  http://amy-proud-yozs.squarespace.com/
Follow on Twitter          @amyproud

Sky Pony Press:  http://skyponypress.com/
Follow on Twitter          @skyhorsepub

Sky Pony Press is an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing.

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Reprinted with permission from IZZY THE VERY BAD BURGLAR © 2016 by Amy Proud, Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing, Illustrations © 2016 by Amy Proud.

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Copyright © 2016 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

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Izzy the Very Bad Burglar
Written and Illustrated by Amy Proud
Sky Pony Press 5/03/2016
9781634501743

8 thoughts on “#907 – Izzy the Very Bad Burglar by Amy Proud – DEBUT

  1. What a great theme, learning right and wrong. I always called that the “tummy test” with my daughter. You indicated that the parents were represented sibling pressure, but it bothered me a bit to have parents who were criminals. I’ll have to read the story. I love the title!

    Like

    • The parents encourage Izzy to be a “good burglar” (to do good in the family business), when she tells them her tummy feels funny when she steals. Her family has a history of terrific criminals. It is Izzy’s story all the way and it is cute and effective. Being a very bad burglar is best.

      Liked by 1 person

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