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Review: Oops! by Jean-Luc Fromental

Oops!
By Jean-Luc Fromental
Illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet
Abrams
ISBN: 9780810987494
$17.95
Grades K-2
In Stores

When you see that a book is dedicated  to Rube Goldberg, you know what you’re in for – a wildly unexpected chain of events. And that’s what Oops! brings. Oversized, retro-bright illustrations steal the show in this story of a family trying to navigate the streets of Paris as everything goes wrong.

After getting a late start, a family of four (plus their pooch) pile into a taxi with only 90 minutes to catch their plane to Djerba. The bedlam begins when a slippery bar of soap shoots out a window, causing the taxi to crash and sending our gang of four (plus 1) scrambling to board the subway and continue their frantic journey. As the madness unfolds around them, the family is forced to use bikes, a limo, a scooter, and finally the bus to reach their destination. They miss their flight, but a group of unexpected guests ensure that all ends well.

In Rube Goldberg fashion, each two-page spread connects to what comes before and after it. A fold-out guide to the chaos is smartly included at the back of the book, explaining how each event fits into the grand scheme. This is needed – kids would have difficulty sorting things out on their own.

Jolivet’s block-print illustrations, employing bold blues, oranges, greens, and pinks are something to see. In fact, moreso than in this duo’s last book (365 Penguins) the story here feels more like a vehicle for the artwork. While this lessens the overall success of the book, it is still a sight to behold.

Review copy from publisher

Oops! shares a title with another Rube Goldberg-influenced picture book by Arthur Geisert.

Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.

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About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

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