Saturday, July 10, 2010

Book Review - Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World

Written by Mac Barnett
Illustrations by Dan Santat
Publisher - Hyperion Books
Released Date - June 1, 2010
Ages: 4 to 8
Source: Personal copy
Rating: 5 Stars

Some kids are too smart for their own good . . . and maybe for everybody else’s good. When an overambitious little girl builds a humongous robot for the science fair, she fully expects to win first place. What she doesn’t expect is the chaos that follows. Mac Barnett, a picture-book author on the rise, and Dan Santat, illustrator of Rhea Perlman’s Otto Undercover series, combine forces to create a hilarious kid’s-eye account of the kind of destruction that can come only from a child’s good intentions. This book is sure to appeal to kids and parents familiar with the ordeal of science fairs. (description taken from GoodReads)

This year my school hosted our first science fair. Let's just say I have a new appreciation for science fairs and science projects. Another thing that I discovered this year was Dan Santat's illustrations. Consequently, a book about a science fair project with illustrations by Santat was something I was certainly going to check out. What I discovered was Oh No! Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World was a hybrid between a Japanese Monster movie merged with a picture book.

Imagine being a child who has created a robot for his/her science project and now the robot has gotten out of hand and is about to destroy the city? This is the perspective that Barnett takes with the story. The girl who's project is on the loose is trying to figure out how to stop the robot. At one point, she even mumbles that she should have given it "ears". At last, she utilizes a genetically altered toad to stop the robot. The text is simple and straightforward, and humorous. However, it really is Santat's illustrations that make the story go to the next level for me. The illustrator has selected an urban setting for the book reminiscent of a modern Japantown and the perspective of the robot towering through the streets feels vaguely like Godzilla on the loose. Even the end flaps have details for the robot and the genetically modified toad, and not to be left out, there are even some Japanese subtitles.

I can already see myself reading this with students before out next year's Science Fair or during our Dr. Seuss Read Across America Day. Another fun book to have in your personal or classroom library especially for fans of Japanese Monster Movies or Science Fair enthusiasts.
I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~