Another congratulations to our third Bingo winner, Maryanne! Maryanne picked Lament as her prize book. Yay, Maryanne!
Bingo Book #26 is OH NO! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World written by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Dan Santat. This was one of our Bingo prizes to be won (now wrapped and ready to be shipped to Bingo winner Mike–congrats again, Mike!).
For any of you that were eying this book as a prize, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you check it out. It’s the story of a girl whose blue-ribbon-winning science project of advanced robotics gets loose and wreaks havoc on the city. Our hero has to mastermind a way to stop her robot creation and save the day, but more havoc is wreaked along the way. There are so many funny details about this book (one of my favorites being the dogs that have been mind-controlled by the robot and are now dressed up in cardboard box robot costumes). But it’s really the illustrations and entire creative vision that push this book to a whole different level. The illustrations are presented like you’re watching a Japanese science fiction movie, with grainy film quality, black bands along the top and bottom of the page like a widescreen image, and even details of film flaws like vertical white lines and flecks of dust included in the picture. (I read somewhere that Dan Santat wanted to include Japanese subtitles for the text to complete the homage to classic monster flicks, but the idea was nixed because it was deemed a little too out there. Personally, I think that would have been a cool added detail.)
Beyond the inventive way of presenting this story through illustrations and all the humorous bits of the story itself, I marveled at the production of this picture book. Every nook and cranny is creatively thought out and lends itself to the story. With many picture books, you remove the paper cover and the hardback case of the book has the same image printed on it. The end pages–the papers glued to the inside of the hardback cover–are perhaps a solid color, perhaps a pattern related to the theme of the book, and sometimes they have additional illustrations that add something extra to the book or a repeat of an illustration that’s in the story. OH NO! takes all these elements to a completely different level by making each one a unique and clever contributor to the overall story. The paper cover itself is an entire illustration scene that wraps around the front and back of the book. But then, if you take the cover off and flip it over, there’s an additional illustration on the backside, this time a vertical movie poster image. The actual hardback case is designed to look like the main character’s science notebook cover, labeled “Computation Notebook”, complete with stains from spilled beverages and signs of wear and tear. The endpages are the blueprints to the plans for the robot creation (as well as a monster frog creation that is also a part of the story).
Seriously, with the execution of the illustrations and the fantastically creative way they enhance the story, I would not be at all surprised if there is Caldecott talk for this book. In fact, I’ll be disappointed if there isn’t.