Thursday, October 23, 2014
Telephone, written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jen Corace. Chronicle Books, Raincoast. 2014. $19.99 ages 4 and up
Hit pop flies and homers.
Prop planes are for flyers.
Put your wet socks in the
Leave it to Mac Barnett to take an old game and make it new again!
Our first glimpse shows a street filled with colorful houses, children playing and telephone poles and wires that provide a place for a long line of birds to sit and ponder their surroundings. A casserole-toting, aproned pigeon passes a message to a nearby bat-carrying cardinal (sorry, St. Louis fans!). Her message is clear:
"Tell Peter: Fly home for dinner."
The game begins with the cardinal passing the message, changed and having a baseball theme. Each message is passed with resultant changes, and on it goes down the wire. Depending on how each bird sees its world, the message moves forward, a bit funnier each time and according to their particular view of things.
Jen Corace uses watercolor, ink, gouache, and pencil on paper to give us a aviator goose, an ostrich maid, a rock star bluebird, a snoopy, binocular-toting toucan, a hoarding pelican, a writer duck, a terrified turkey...all the way down the wire to Peter Pigeon and his baseball team. Luckily, the owl who prides himself on being informed gets the tongue-tied chicken's message:
"Tell Peter: There's a giant monster lobster named Homer!
He smells like socks and he breathes red fire!
His eyes blaze like stars and he rides a crocodile that flies
and he's coming to this wire!
Tell Peter to fly!
Fly far far away!
He's too young to be
The owl passes his own wise interpretation...and Peter heads home for dinner.
Too funny for words, clever, and worthy of more than one look to ensure that you 'get it' all.