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Children's Nonfiction Law & Crime

I Can't Do What?

Strange Laws and Rules from Around the World

by (author) Heather Camlot

illustrated by Mike Deas

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Jul 2022
Law & Crime, Sociology
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jul 2022
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 10 to 14
  • Grade: 5 to 9


Did you know that
You can't keep a goldfish in a round goldfish bowl in Rome?
That you can't take a selfie while running with the bulls in Pamplona?
That you can't climb a tree in a Toronto city park?

This book is a look at some of the more curious rules and laws that have been created around the world over many years. Some of these rules and laws may make us laugh. Some may make us angry or frightened for the people they influence. All of these rules and laws will make us think. How did they come to be? How can they be changed?
With numerous sidebars presenting historical information, quizzes after each of the four sections, and ideas throughout for discussion and response activities, this is an active, well-researched illustrated book that shines a bright light on our world and its human workings. The book unfolds in four sections, outlining

  • "People Problems" (everyday life; family; animals; food; fashion),
  • "Sports Zone" (soccer; baseball; hockey; basketball; more sports),
  • "Entertainment" (books and media; television and film; music and dance; technology), and
  • "Kid Concerns" (school; toys; outdoor fun).

This new book from acclaimed author Heather Camlot might just be the start of a young reader's passion for governance and social justice.

About the authors

HEATHER CAMLOT is the author of the nonfiction What If Soldiers Fought with Pillows? and the Skipping Stones Honor Award novels The Other Side and Clutch, the latter of which was named among Kirkus’s Best Middle-Grade Historical Fiction. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has written, edited and translated for various publications, including Quill & Quire, Owl, TV Guide Canada and Style at Home. She lives in Toronto, Ontario.


Heather Camlot's profile page


Mike Deas est auteur-illustrateur de bandes dessinées, telles que Tank and Fizz and The Case of the Tentacle Terror. Il signe aussi les illustrations de la série Graphic Guide Adventure. Sa passion pour l'illustration a été entretenue tout au long de son enfance à l'île Saltspring, en Colombie-Britannique où il habite encore aujourd'hui.


MIKE DEAS is an author/illustrator of graphic novels, most recently Tank and Fizz and the Case of the Tentacle Terror. He is the illustrator of the Graphic Guide Adventure series. His love for illustrative storytelling comes from an early love of reading and drawing while growing up on Saltspring Island, British Columbia. Visit him online at

Mike Deas' profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Most of the rules are strange and humorous, like Winnie the Pooh being too indecently attired for a Polish town to consider as a playground mascot. Some are unexpected and heartwarming, like the Swiss rule about owning two guinea pigs instead of one, in deference to their being social animals. Others are horrifying — rules permitting the execution of dissenting journalists — or nonsensical, like the regulation bikini bottoms the women's Norwegian beach handball team must wear while the men's team wears shorts. Heather Camlot inserts her opinions, with phrases like "Ugh" and "Who thinks this stuff up?" but most readers will come to the same conclusions regardless.
"Camlot's glossary allows readers to distinguish between decrees, legislation, ordinances, policies and regulations. She encourages critical thinking through the "What Can I Do?" exercises. Some laws may compel readers to do research, like looking up the the dance video to Pharrell Williams's "Happy" that merited the young Iranian creators sentences of imprisonment and lashes. Above all, Camlot exhorts readers to question, change and create laws by giving them advocacy tools.
"Mike Deas' spot and half-page, comic-style illustrations liven the book. His expressive people and animals in dynamic poses are finished in black ink and brushed with black watercolor.
"Camlot succeeds in creating a quick, compelling miscellany that will inform and entertain preteen readers. It may even inspire future rule-shapers."
Canadian Children's Book News

"True to its purpose, the book is indeed a fun read. A book filled with facts and trivia. There are a lot of weird but interesting laws unheard of and unthinkable, that I did not expect existed. The format of the book fits the style and genre the author wants to establish. Unorthodox and quirky, it clearly intends to not just give information, but amuse. . . An enjoyable read. I reacted with "oohs" and "aahs" and even a good laugh, on some laws as I read."

Other titles by Heather Camlot

Other titles by Mike Deas