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Saturday, July 28, 2012

OH NO! NOT AGAIN! Written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat. Hyperion, Hachette, 2012. $19.99 ages 5 and up

"Passing a current through an improvised Michelson-Morley device will minimize counter-radiation and inhibit entropy. Parametric down-conversion should commence no later than six seconds after initiation of the NIMTZ sequence to eliminate risk of lamb shift. Time dilation may occur once maximum velocity is reached."

Absolute proof that just because you can read it doesn't assure understanding. I have no idea what I just quoted from the endpapers of this hilarious new book from Mac Barnett and Dan Santat.

It has a lot to do with a time machine that is the second project of the scholarly, hard-working girl from their previous adventure in project development. Last time it was science; this time, it's history! Seems that first foray didn't deter her indomitable spirit for making things better...or so it seems.

An unacceptable grade on a history paper is the catalyst this time. One missed question about cave paintings and where they originated has her wanting to travel back and change history, assuring a perfect paper. It takes a few tries to get back to the right era, and she is willing to give it the go needed until she achieves success. Hilarity ensues as she attempts to instruct neanderthal cave dwellers to do her bidding. Mission accomplished by her own hand, and ready to hop back into her machine for the return journey, she has a big surprise in store.

Dan Santat brings his formidable talent to the telling, once again! He fills all pages, beginning with the complicated design plans on the endpapers. We are always close to the action as he uses ever-changing perspectives to keep us apprised of our young narrator's progress (or lack, thereof!). Along the way, readers get a short history lesson in the bold, expressive artwork done in Adobe Photoshop. I have read it through three times now; still, I keep finding new images and thinking new thoughts.

The cavemen are a riot and perfectly match Barnett's comical text. They stick paint brushes up their noses, chew color palettes, and seem totally unable to follow any given direction. When she brings out the spray paint they use it on each other. And, it doesn't stop there.

Kids will take great delight in poring over the pictures and practicing the dialogue. Don't miss the time transit loop which follows the story's conclusion, the inside cover of the book, or the poster that is included on the back of the paper cover. So much to see and appreciate about this fantastic team.

Funny to the point of absurdity and sure to find new fans, who will eagerly await the next spectacular installment in the life of this young miss!!!

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