Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Eyes on the Prize? Look! by Jeff Mack


What's a guy got to do to get somebody to read to him?

Great ape gyrations ensue when a gorilla tries un-glue a boy from the boob tube.

Gorilla Guy balances a book on his nose. He balances on one foot on top a stack of books.

He balances a huge stack of books on his head! But not for long.


Down they come, one landing open on top of the boy's head. Without removing his eyes from his screen, the boy walks over to open the door with one word:


Okay. If it's drama the boy wants, drama he'll get!

Gorilla Guy crashes a book-laden trike through the door. This time the books come down like an avalanche and smash the television set. Ooops! Unintended but ironic consequence of book promotion!


Now what? All alone, the boy looks down sadly at the remains of his entertainment devices, and his eyes fall on an open book. Hey! This book is worth a...LOOK!

It's not long before boy and Gorilla are sharing a read-in on the floor, in Jeff Mack's Look! (Philomel Books, 2015). With a minimalist vocabulary of just two words, repeated with various emotional connotations, Mack sneaks in a stealthy comical plug for books and reading. The author's salesman for the joys of reading may not be the most subtle, but hey, he IS a gorilla and besides, he's got a point. Mack's silly book spokesperson will get youngsters' attention, and the simple and super-sized vocabulary will have its audience reading along despite themselves before the book comes to its sleepy end. In a clever bit of book design, Mack uses an absolutely real-looking facsimile of an old-fashioned book pocket and date-due slip as a frontispiece opposite the title page. (It'll make you touch it to see if it's real! Really!) LOOK again at this one for bedtime, storytime, or Book Week!

If you're faced with a bunch of junior screen zombies, try pairing this one with Lane Smith's It's a Book (See review here)



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