Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World)

Barnett, Mac. 2010. OH NO!(OR HOW MY SCIENCE PROJECT DESTROYED THE WORLD) Ill. by Dan Santat. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423123125 [Suggested Grade Levels 1-5]

Author Mac Barnett’s sparse text is teamed up with the slick stylized graphics of Dan Santat to present a 32 page fun-filled “graphic novel.” Told primarily through illustrations and word bubbles, we follow a young girl as she develops a plan to save the city from her runaway science fair project: a huge laser eyed robot that can control the minds of dogs.

Using a comic book format, the many double-paged spreads transition into smaller horizontal panels for action sequences. The muted pallet, scarred with persistent gritty vertical grooves and discoloration, along with the “Please stand by” opening sequence recall Saturday morning B-movies. For those too young to recognize the reference, the detailed depictions of rock-em, sock-em drama will grab and keep their attention. The beauty of Santat’s illustrations is in the often comical details. The double-page spread of the science fair includes classic experiments like the “Volcano” alongside the perennial “Cup of Dirt” and “Just Hamsters!” Close ups of our bespectacled heroine are complete with action packed reflections. Make sure little mad scientists check out the blue print designs for creative creature details.

Picture books aren’t just for toddlers, and this one would be fun to include in the library of an older elementary class. Browse through looking for the Kanji words and translate them using the informal “glossary” at the start of the book.

More books that show science fair projects can be fun… and sometimes dangerous:
Barry, Dave and Pearson, Ridley. SCIENCE FAIR. ISBN 9781423113249
Mills, Claudia. HOW OLIVER OLSEN CHANGED THE WORLD. ISBN 9780374334871

By Marianne Follis

No comments: