Leave Me Alone!

Leave Me Alone!

Vera Brosgol, author of the fantastic graphic novel Anya’s Ghost, has released a picture book about finding your own space (as announced last summer).

Leave Me Alone! is about a grandmother who just wants to get some knitting done. She’s got some tasks to complete before winter, but all the kids in her crowded house keep getting in the way.

What’s amazing about this book, and what brought me back to it multiple times, were the superlative double-page spreads. When the grandchildren comes up with so many things to do with balls of yarn, for example, as the string winds its way across the pages among the active, expressive figures. Or the crowded house, with kids everywhere, yet each one still distinct.

Leave Me Alone!

I found it surprisingly inspiring. The old woman takes care of her chores, leaving the house neat and fortifying herself before she goes to find some peace and quiet so she can accomplish something. This desire for completion, to balance the many tasks expected of one and be left alone just to get stuff done, was so realistic, although the book is full of fantasy, as the grandmother goes to the moon and elsewhere.

Yet the book also has a comforting repetition for younger readers, as the old woman tries to settle down but keeps encountering obstacles. And visually, it’s hilarious as each new group of animals finds things to do with her knitting wool. (The overstuffed goats are particularly silly.)

The book ends with the comfort of returning home at last, once tasks are done and harmony restored. Leave Me Alone!, for all its grumpy title, is refreshing to the soul, with humor for the young and sympathy for the old.


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