DIDN'T Didn't Do It

New York: G. P. Putnam’s, 2007.

Illustrated by Gahan Wilson

“Didn’t didn’t do it. Neither did doesn’t. Doesn’t didn’t do it because Didn’t wouldn’t. Wouldn’t couldn’t because Shouldn’t can’t. And Can’t didn’t do it since Didn’t doesn’t.”

So begins the story of a group of friends whose attempt to build a treehouse gets every bit as tangled as the tongue-twisting wordplay that describes their efforts. Running into one problem after another—and never mind that there is a whole family of birds already living in the tree—they come to understand just how puzzling it is to try to work together to accomplish the simplest thing.

Colorfully illustrated by the legendary cartoonist Gahan Wilson, Didn’t Didn’t Do It is hardly a story of abject failure, but instead suggests the path to finishing what we start isn’t always the one we set out on.


“Lewis Carroll, move over! Edward Lear, shove off! Didn’t Didn’t Do It is immortal—a mazy amazement, a logical conundrum, a chess-piece brilliance! Didn’t Didn’t Do It will never be surpassed, and will go down the generations.”
—Cynthia Ozick

“Morrow, an O. Henry and Pushcart Prize winner making his children’s book debut, and veteran cartoonist Wilson engage in some nifty word play reminiscent of the classic bit ‘Who’s on first.’ Wilson’s loopy, oozy cartoons keep the merriment moving along—as always, his kids appear to be 6 and 76 simultaneously—but the real fun is in watching the words collide.”
—Publishers Weekly