Book Review: Click
By David Almond, Eoin Colfer, Roddy Doyle, Deborah Ellis, Nick Hornby, Tim Wynne-Jones, Margo Lanagan, Gregory Maguire, Ruth Ozeki, and Linda Sue Park
Arthur A. Levine Books
After putting this one down, I was left with a problem: how do I review a book written by 10 different authors? You can’t expect the same things you do from a standard story. The criteria for “good” and “bad” has to be different. Like continuity for instance. The ten chapters in “Click” were each composed by a different writer, and the transition from one style to the next takes a bit of effort. Acceptable given the format? Yes. Acceptable in a standard, one author book? Not so sure. The result is a book that is fun to dissect and perfectly suited for classroom analysis and discussion. From a pure reading enjoyment standpoint, however, I was left wanting more.
At the heart of the story is George “Gee” Keane. The first chapter (by Park) picks up just a week after Gee’s funeral. His grandchildren, Maggie and Jason, are reeling and their parents are doing their best to keep it together. Gee led a truly extraordinary life as a renowned photographer, traveling the world. He left gifts for the Mags and Jason. For his granddaughter, Gee left a box with seven shells, each from a different continent. The accompanying instructions saying simply “Throw them all back”. For Jason, a camera.
After that first chapter, each author takes a different aspect of the story (Gee, Maggie, Jason) and expands it. Really, it’s more like the book is ten short stories that are all connected, rather than one unified whole. Never does a chapter pick up right were the last one left off, which could be tough for some readers. There wouldn’t be much fun in this book if everyone involved tried to work in the same style. I enjoyed detecting the shift for each author. Some leaps are bigger than others (David Almond to Eoin Colfer stands out), and I soon realized that this switch makes you think about what type of writing appeals to you the most.
The design of this book is in-shane. As you can see from the photo above, the book looks like a camera. But it doesn’t just slap a lens on there and call it good. No, “Click” gets downright technical in its reproduction. Screws, switches, latches, and gears are all there. Since the driving force in the book is photography, and Gee’s camera plays a big role, it is the perfect way to let readers know what they’re getting into. Will it appeal to younger readers, not just 26 year old librarians? I’ll be curious to see when it hits our library shelves.
I would recommend “Click” for its individual parts, with the caveat that those parts don’t add up to be greater than the whole.
To learn more about the process of writing this book, take a look at One Question, Ten Answers with the Authors of Click
Also reviewed by A Fuse #8 Production.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat
Filed under: Reviews
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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