It might be fair to say that most kids, in their free play, have invented stories about robots or monsters that have gotten out of control. Perhaps they have gone on rampages and destroyed Lego towns or block cities. In the thoroughly engaging Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World), Mac Barnett and Dan Santat illustrate this imaginary world.
The young protagonist has built a robot for the science fair, which is on a rampage, destroying buildings and terrorizing citizens in its wake. Our genius scientist chases it all over the city, but finally decides the only solution is to invent a new, better, bigger, more powerful creature. Our heroine's plan is successful... maybe even too successful.
What I love: the genius protagonist is a girl (and her awesome glasses), the city is a hodgepodge of Western and Japanese elements, the imagery invokes Japanese B horror movies (right down to the vertical white lines of the "film"), the subtle humor, the retro graphic novel quality to the layout and the fun robot blueprint end pages.
After you read this with your kids, you might want to protect those Lego cities, because some serious imaginative play is going to take place.
Dan Santat discusses his inspirations for the book jacket on his blog.
Visit Mac Barnett's website.
Read a terrific article, see the artwork and watch the trailer at Seven Impossible Things.
Read a review by Geek Dad.
Big Kid says: Cool!
Little Kid says: Toad!