Zany, Detailed, Funny
It’s hard to know what to make of Barnett and Pizzoli’s book. Packed with off-the-wall comparisons and unorthodox relationships, the book is indeed a “celebration of the many tender, madcap ways we love one another,” as the summary on the dust jacket says. A handful of children and some assorted creatures interact in what seem like rather random ways and though there doesn’t have a strong narrative per se, the characters come and go in a sort of intricate, not-quite-discernable dance.
In Barnett and Pizzoli, the partnership between author and illustrator is at its finest. Like a skilled improv comedian, Barnett sets up his partner with just enough for him to run with a new idea. Taking such apparently nonsense as, “I’m lucky like a window,” and “You’re funny like a fossil,” Pizzoli’s illustrations both make sense of and complicate the comparisons. For example, we learn that a person might be “funny like a fossil” if they are wearing one on their head as a joke. However, other questions arise. In the same illustration, we see a treasure map leading to the fossil. How did the children find the map? What creature did the bones belonged to? Small details in the illustrations such as these could lead to rich and imaginative discussions during a read-aloud.
Furthermore, the abundance of comparisons in the book could provide an amusing introduction to learning about metaphors and smilies, and I could see teachers using the format as a creative writing exercise. Together, Barnett and Pizzoli help readers consider connections between two seemingly unrelated ideas, and—best of all—they do so while prompting a good giggle.
good read-aloud book