The Guild of Geniuses
October 27, 2015
Are you having a bad weather day? You should try Dr. Lancaster's Portable Weather Machine. Want to rise above it all? Check out Dr. Torrance's Anti-Gravity Belt. Yes, THE GUILD OF GENIUSES has created many fantastic inventions to satisfy humanity's most pressing needs... So when Fred's best friend Mr. Pip seems a little down, Fred knows just who to call. The Guild introduces Mr. Pip to other monkeys (in case he was lonely) and throws him a parade (so he can feel important). But it turns out Fred may hold the solution after all -- and he doesn't have to be a genius to be a good friend.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This goofy tale of friendship will appeal to young readers who like to try to solve problems by themselves. They will laugh at the antics of the guild, which have some merit to them, and can be asked why they think Mr. Pip is sad. Readers who have internalized the antics of Curious George might suggest more in the way of bananas and trips to the jungle, but Mr. Pip's fondness for his friend is clear enough that even the youngest readers will understand that he is feeling neglected.
Santat's pictures share the same sense of humor as the text, with the guild all sporty quirky features, from Dr. Lancaster's impressive handlebar mustache to the modified fez that all of the members wear. I thought it was funny that the guild brought in other monkeys for Mr. Pip to hand around, but he didn't speak the same language that they did, and the other monkeys were much more interested in bananas! The palette is heavy on blue and brown, with touches of brighter colors, and demonstrates Santat's style rather than embracing any current styles in illustration.
Readers who like Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka's quirky and exuberant picture books will appreciate this tale of how friends should treat each other.
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