Monday, February 15, 2010

Guess Again! by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex

Guess Again! has all the characteristics of a classic children’s picture book. Predictable text written in rhyme, pictures that offer comprehension clues, topics young readers will find familiar, and flaps and foldouts for little fingers.

And Grandpa Ned.

The first page features a picture of a garden. Vegetables grow in the background. Carrots, some still buried, some half eaten, are in the foreground. In the center is the black outline of what is apparently a fuzzy, floppy-eared creature. The text on the opposite page mentions stolen carrots, soft hair, and hard teeth. The last two lines read:

“His floppy ears are long and funny.
Can you guess who? That’s right! My …”

The reader then turns the page to reveal the obvious conclusion to the rhyme.

Okay, there’s a reason this book is called Guess Again!. The obvious conclusion of the rhyme never comes. Instead readers are presented with completely unrelated, un-rhyming, unbelievable alternatives, each more absurd than the last, and every one downright hilarious.

I can’t in good conscience give them away. Get it. Read it for yourself. Here’s what happened the first four times I read it:
  1. By myself – I laughed so hard tears streamed down my face.
  2. Aloud with my 10-year-old – Again, uncontrolled laughter. Both of us cried.
  3. Aloud to my wife – More fits. Wife acknowledged book’s hilarity.
  4. Prepared for this review – Tears shorted out keyboard.
After enjoying Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem so much, I looked for more books by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex. Guess Again! exceeded all expectations. It is head-thrown-back, tears-run-down, short-of-breath, unable-to-finish-even-short-sentences, laugh-out-loud funny.

Trust me. For more information, just click Grandpa Ned.


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