Are We There Yet?

Dan Santat. Little, Brown, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-316-19999-5
Two parents and their son set out on a marathon car trip, headed to Grandma’s house for her birthday. “This is taking forever,” the boy groans. Suddenly—is he dreaming?—a steam locomotive appears beside their car, chased by a cowboy on horseback. Following the text around sequential panels, readers end up flipping the book upside down and turning the pages back to front as the family travels into the past. Outside, pirates fight, knights joust, dinosaurs loom. Then, just as suddenly, text and pictures right themselves and the family zooms into the future, arriving at Grandma’s house to find a space-age building in its place: “Today is October 24, 2059,” a huge screen announces. The conclusion is as neat as the bow on Grandma’s birthday gift (a clock). “Be patient,” writes Caldecott Medalist Santat (The Adventures of Beekle), dedicating the book to his son. “We have all the time in the world.” His own patience is what harnesses the energy of his riotous story and gives it a laser focus. It’s a remarkable feat—a turbocharged adventure that’s also a meditation on the relative nature of time. Ages 3–6. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/11/2016
Release date: 04/12/2016
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