Book Review: Big Plans
By Bob Shea
Illustrated by Lane Smith
I got in trouble as a kid. It didn’t happen too often, but it happened. “Mocked” the guitar player during the assembly (sincerest form of flattery, I say), got a bit too rough playing Ninja Turtles at recess – standard stuff. Like a bucket of cold water on the head, getting in trouble as a kid always reminds you of the fact that adults are unquestionably in charge. “Big Plans” exuberantly turns this notion on its head. In terms of read-aloud-ability, it will likely prove to be one of the highlights of Aught Eight.
The story begins with our unnamed protagonist stewing in Time Out. As the title suggests, he has a few ideas about how things should be, and is not afraid to share. Are they specific? Not at all. But you don’t need details when you’ve got this kind of persistence. With the gusto of Alex Baldwin’s character in “Glengarry Glen Ross”, our hero’s fantasy jumps into action. He’s making it clear who’s in charge, ordering people around and demanding to know if you’re “in or out”. Along the way he acquires a mynah bird sidekick, a skunk-coon cap, and a wake of adults impressed with his determination. He wins football games, crashes board meetings, and talks the President into handing over his job. All while never losing focus of his mission: to proclaim his big plans to the world.
A warning: this book is fairly relentless in its methods. It’s not made for “quiet time in ye olde story corner”. The fonts sizes vary between huge and massive. Lane Smith’s collage illustrations fit right in and add to the craziness. It’s fair to say that, if done correctly, you can expect to hear “A Clamor of Children” during this storytime. But that’s the fun, right?
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: *Best New Books*, 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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