Mac Side Up

Bob Elsdale, Author, Robert Elsdale, Author, Joan Powers, Editor Dutton Books $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-46467-9
Debut author/artist Elsdale's quirky yet visually exhilarating book chronicles the adventures of Mac, ""one cool cat,"" and Dusty, ""one cool ferret,"" as they engage in a nutty experiment to answer Mac's burning question: ""What if what if I strapped a piece of buttered toast to my back and jumped from a great height? What would happen?"" The eye-popping illustrations, set against alternating backgrounds of bright yellow, red and aqua, are digitally manipulated combinations of photographs; according to a note at the end, some compositions contain up to 50 different parts. Elsdale's assurance that no animal was ""hurt or distressed"" in the making of this book, frees readers to enjoy startling images: Mac flies off the table on a piece of toast while coffee, jelly, egg and sugar bowl are flung into the air; rigged up in a helmet, buttered toast attached to his back, Mac hangs suspended from a crane. (Some of these pictures can be previewed at the artist's Web site, www.bobelsdale.com.) The language milks the absurd premise for all it's worth: ""Which one would land right-side up? Mac? Or the toast? He started to straighten. He was almost the right way up. Could he do it? Yes! A perfect landing. One giant leap for catkind!"" If the narrative isn't quite a giant leap, the artwork represents an expert use of new technology. Ages 5-8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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