Written and Illustrated by Kelly Suellentrop
Publisher: Striped Socks Publishing
Category: Picture Book
Our culture is awash with declarations of love for weekends. From the old TGIF catchphrase to the 80’s classic “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” there is little doubt that those 48 hours hold a very special place in our collective hearts. They represent a respite from work and school, a chance to engage in the things we want to do with the people we love most, or even just an opportunity to sleep in. And for Lulu and Milo, they mean absolute mayhem.
In Absolute Mayhem, we meet Lulu and Milo, two siblings who work hard all week to follow the rules, complete their schoolwork and eat their vegetables all in an effort to arrive at Friday where the rules go out the window and absolute mayhem ensues. If you can imagine what your home would look like if weekends were a free-for-all, that gives you some idea of what you will find in the pages of this book. What starts as innocent, imaginative fun quickly gets out of control and much like many a family feels at the end of summer vacation, everyone seems a little ready for routine again come Monday. The illustrations range from black and white during the weekdays to increasingly colorful as the mayhem starts to spin out of control and are a great complement to the story. My kids spent quite a while going back through the book after our initial reading to “explore the drawings” in more detail. They were delighted when they did because they discovered new things as well as a hidden friend on all of the pages we missed the first time around.
I’m particularly excited to share this book because it is self-published by a first-time local author Kelly Suellentrop. She shared more about the process behind the writing of this book in the Idea Chasers series. One of the things she shared was that the idea for Absolute Mayhem came from her own children, and that to this day, when the whole family is home on Friday, someone yells out “absolute mayhem” and the fun begins. Not long after reading this book I heard an interview with Jamie Oliver on NPR about his new cookbook, Jamie Oliver’s Comfort Food: The Ultimate Weekend Cookbook, in which he confesses to eating primarily comfort foods on the weekends after a week of clean eating and I immediately thought of Absolute Mayhem and wondered if both he and Kelly weren’t onto something that I am absolutely missing. Now I’m counting the minutes to this weekend and dreaming up my own version of absolute mayhem.