Harris (What Can a Citizen Do?) opens this comic romp with a nighttime view of a dark, brooding structure—half haunted mansion, half lighthouse. A page turn sets the lights ablaze as the child narrator discovers that, rather than sleeping, “everyone’s awake.” Things start quietly (“Grandma’s at her needlework./ Dad is baking bread”) but soon escalate: “The dog’s into the eggnog:/ Mom’s tap dancing to Prince/ while Dad is on the laptop/ buying ten-yard bolts of chintz.” Bold, silk-screen-esque forms coalesce into tapestries of gleeful chaos for the multiethnic family. Mom clutches the eggnog punch bowl with one arm and a vinyl record with the other; pajama-clad Dad lies belly-down with his laptop. The siblings aren’t shy, either: “My brother’s now reciting/ every line from Condorman/ while my sister is trapezing/ from the kitchen ceiling fan.” Gothic mystery creeps in, too, as a ghostly shipwreck outside produces “long-dead/ Grandpa Paul” for a game of whist. Manic though it may be, the family’s live-and-let-live attitude toward its members’ rule-breaking peculiarities makes this rip-roaring romp by Meloy (The Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid) defiantly wholesome. Ages 5–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 12/05/2019 Release date: 03/01/2020 Genre: Children's
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