7-year old Gwen wakes up grumpy and says “NO!” to everything. Actually, the 9-foot-tall “NO-MONSTER” looming beside her says NO to everything.
[Note on text: Because so much of the story is told in the images, I’ve included notes on possible illustrations in italics.]
UH, OH! SHE’S GOT A NO!
Today Gwen woke up with a thing in her BED …
A thing that fills every grown-up with DREAD…
[In DARKENED BEDROOM: Gwen blinking … behind her, HUGE shape puffing up the covers]
SHE’S GOT A NO!
[In Lighted BEDROOM: Mom & Dad peeking in, scared looks on their faces. On bed, Gwen sitting with arms crossed … Monster behind her, arms crossed, baring its sharp, shiny fangs.]
The No is BIG,
The NO is STRONG,
… and the NO hardly EVER gets ALONG.
[The NO by itself, in a color background, looking mean]
Put on your dress …
[In Her lighted BEDROOM: The NO-Monster RIPS Gwen’s dress]
Brush your hair …
[In the BATHROOM: No-Monster EATS Gwen’s hair brush; we see Gwen wearing her dress from the page before – it’s not torn – but maybe a little rumpled.]
Eat your eggs …
[In the KITCHEN: The No-Monster CHUCKS her eggs]
At home it’s bad,
But at school it’s WORST
‘Cause a NO at school makes your teacher BURST …
[On the STREET: Mom and Dad fretting on the curb. Gwen and Monster on the bus, a wicked look in their eyes]
She’s brought a NO!
[In CLASSROOM: Gwen with the NO behind her back, licking his lips, facing down the class: The teacher and her classmates huddle against the far wall, looking scared.]
Pick up your books …
[At the LIBRARY DESK: The No-MONSTER rips hundreds of pages from a book, in a whirlwind, Tasmanian Devil style]
Put away your crayons …
[At her DESK: The Monster’s huge GAPING MAW has a hundred crayons stuffed in; by her desk, we see her book from the page before is a just a little bent]
Wash your hands …
[At the SINK: The No-MONSTER clutches six different soap bottles and SQUIRTS it everywhere]
Yes the NO Breaks Stuff
The NO Makes Rubble,
But Sometimes, it’s true, the NO stops TROUBLE
Let’s get Tommy …
[On PLAYGROUND: Gwen guards Tommy against three bigger kids, her fists up. The NO-Monster’s got her back: he’s holding a BAZOOKA or a BROAD SWORD or some ridiculous weapon.]
You can’t read this book
[Gwen swipes a banned book, like Huck Finn or Harry Potter; The NO-Monster perches on her shoulder, its eyes wide, hands over its mouth …]
You can’t play football!
[At the FOOTBALL FIELD: The boy with the football holds it away, Gwen stands defiant, MONSTER snatches ball, or gets down in the dirt in starting-tackling formation]
Way to GO!
She’s Got a NO!
[At FOOTBALL FIELD: a bunch of girls and some boys cheer Gwen on as she runs with the football, the NO-monster blocking for her]
So the NO makes you bold,
Yes the NO makes you strong
But sometimes, it’s true, the NO can be WRONG
Want to mix this together?
[At the LAB-TABLE: Teacher in lab goggles and white coat mixes chemicals. Gwen in the corner, frowning, but with sad look on her face. The NO-Monster, a little smaller and tamer-looking,tries to get her attention by drinking a bubbling green liquid, but she ignores him.]
Want to eat a snack?
[At DESKS: Kids happily munching on apples and cheese; Gwen sits alone under a table. Dark. The Monster, smaller now but still comically big underneath a child’s desk, eats a crumb of cheese off the floor, and offers Gwen a piece; she ignores it.]
Want to hear a story?
[At STORY-CIRCLE: Kids huddled around, gape-mouthed, a little scared, as teacher in a witch hat reads a scary story. Gwen hides behind a desk, peeking at story. Monster much smaller now, lazily ripping up the page of a book, bored look on its face]
Uh, oh …
I’ve got a NO …
[By herself: Gwen looks sadly at monster, he looks sadly at her … No-Monster’s shoulders hunched, he looks sheepish – he’s a little big, dumb, and foolish now]
But your NO can change,
Yes your NO can grow
If it’s right, it’s a sight, when your NO starts to GLOW
[At the Classroom STAGE: Kids dressed up in costumes. Set apart is a cloak and a staff, just waiting for the right person …]
[Monster on one knee, holds hands with Gwen, they share a look …
… Monster and Gwen hug]
[ON the STAGE: Gwen in center, clutching the staff, wearing the robe and hat, raises her arms in triumph, gigantic smile on her face. The No-MONSTER is now transformed. Swirling rainbow colors around it, maybe wings. He claps in the audience, tear in his eye, as he shouts “YES”]