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Saturday, February 26, 2011

OH NO! Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat. Hyperion, H B Fenn, 2010. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"I never should have built
a robot for the science fair.
Everything was going so well...
until the rampage started, that is.

I probably shouldn't have
given it a superclaw, or a
laser eye.

Or the power to control dogs'

There is no way that I can do justice to this over-the-top, energetic, entertaining, and always engaging collaborative effort! But, I want to tell you a bit about ensure that you get it in your hands and share it with your kids. It's a tough read to a classroom; but will take you on a hilarious romp when shared one-on-one!

It begins as it should, with the cover...meant to invite the reader in for all the enjoyment that is sure to unfold . But I mean, it begins with the dust jacket. Uncover the book, and take time to look at both sides. You will meet the little girl who inadvertently created the destroyer robots. Reflected in her glasses you will see images of the spectacles she created without knowing the extent of the chaos that would befall her city. And that's only the beginning...

Look to the inside of that dust jacket and you will see a poster depicting what looks like a film version of the book you are about to read. It takes some of its inspiration from the Japanese and their affinity for Godzilla and his ilk. And we haven't even come to the jacket flaps, which provide a quick summary and a stylized vision of the book's creators. What about the endpapers? Well, there's another story!

The endpapers show finely detailed, labeled blueprints for said robot from the Robot Unit Series - 01 and a Growth Ray Device - 02. It is suggested that they are for the fifth grade science fair, under Mrs. Turnham's tutelage. There is so much to see before continuing into the heart of the book. On it goes, filled with drama and delight, humor and satire. I have pored over the pictures endlessly, trying to figure out if I am even coming close to 'getting it'. I am quite sure I am not!

There is limited text, but the story is clear. The computer generated illustrations add so much detail that I cannot begin to tell you about them. Suffice it to say; you will not, in the least bit, be sorry if you get a copy of this wildly imaginative and seriously wigged-out look at a child's inability to understand the true extent of their actions.

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