cover image Yay!


Emily Rodda. Greenwillow Books, $15 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15255-0

Set at an amusement park, this hyperbolic escapade, an Australian import, follows a loop-de-loop pattern of ups (""yay!"") and downs (""oh""). The freckled narrator loves all the attractions at Crazy Family Fun World, but his faint-hearted relatives can't keep up with him. One by one, the others grow queasy from the rides, funhouse mirrors and junk food. Alternately elated and disappointed, the boy establishes a point/counterpoint progression: ""Mum takes me on the Giant Wheel. Yay! / It gets stuck. Oh. / Then it goes round very fast. Yay! / Mum freaks out. Oh."" Only when the narrator is unaccompanied does he find bliss (""So I go on the Wild Cow alone. Yay! / And the Bone Crusher. Yay! / And the Fanger, the Screamer, the Jim-Jam.... Yay! Yay! Yay!""). As in her Power & Glory, Rodda sets a speedy pace, handling the mood like a pro with a yo-yo. Smith's cartoony illustrations--featuring the bug-eyed carnival enthusiast and his quivering entourage--offer a fairway of hot colors, from buttered-popcorn yellow to bilious green to clown-nose red. The garish hues and the hand-scrawled lettering lack all subtlety, appropriately enough, and simulate the narrator's sensory overload. Those who dare any rollercoaster (and scoff at motion sickness) will recognize themselves in this celebration of excess. Ages 5-up. (Aug.)