Oh No! Not Again!

Sounds like something you'll want to say the next time your kid asks you to read this to her or him! 

*Dan Santat's pictures are so good, he might have just become my favorite illustrator   
*I'm surprised more stories don't utilize the time travel angle, because it's an almost guaranteed crowd pleaser (although, as evidenced here, it can be hard to pull off)
*The map on the back inside cover is a thing of marvel, especially the way they were able to find junction points between the various paths

*If you asked me to explain the concept in a sentence or two, it would sound quite intriguing -- but somehow it fails when you actually read the whole thing 
*Depictions of jamming pencils in skulls falls outside of the acceptable range of humor for most parents 
*If the cavemen were able to affect history to the degree that they did, you'd think our hero would return to a classroom with a different cast of characters

Author Mac Barnett could use this exact same template to create a kick-ass novel, but as a children's book it just doesn't work. Even Santat's awesome images and the high-level references to things as varied as cave paintings or Waterloo can't save ON!NA! from a fate beyond Donate.  It reminded me of a trip to Subway (probably because of the quasi-subway map I referred to above).  Why?  Think about it: cramming every available topping you desire inside you sub seems like a good idea at the time, but makes it unwieldy once you try and digest it.  Veggies fly everywhere on the way in, and then your stomach has to work overtime to process everything.  When it's all said and done, you are making a beeline to the toilet about 45 minutes later, probably uttering some form of the phrase "Oh no, not again!"

Buy / Borrow / DONATE / Destroy

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