Saturday, July 18, 2009

June 29, 1999

Every book by David Wiesner I read reminds me of how much of a genius the man is. Wiesner is the master at making the reader step outside the boundaries of normal. His settings are very real but the situations just seem beyond the norm. His Tuesday is one of my favorite wordless books ever and that is based on the simple premise of flying frogs. This book has a touch of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs meets Tuesday. There is strange and then there is the genius of Wiesner. 

The story starts with Holly Evans beginning a science experiment. She plants vegetables in boxes and then launches them into the air with weather balloons to see what effects heights and atmosphere have on their growth. It is her science experiment for class. A couple weeks later a hiker in the woods find a giant turnip. Suddenly massive vegetables are showing up all over the earth. Holly watches the giant vegetables with interest. Her experiment seems to have had some interesting consequences. That is until the Arugula is found. Holly didn't plant Arugula. She realizes that this is not the result of her experiment. Now the question becomes where the vegetables came from and where her seeds went. Well above the earth, the answer is found. I won't give away the surprising and strange ending. 

As always Wiesner's illustrations are what make this book the masterpiece that it is. His image of the broccoli that winds up in Holly's backyard is detailed and odd. He uses the juxtoposition between normal and strange well. All of his work is detailed and colorful and leads the reader into the world. We see the giant vegetables through Holly's eyes. We have the same confusion that her experiment could have produced such amazing food. In fact it is something of a let down to find that the experiment is not the cause. I wanted the oddity to continue. The ending stunned me. But the unusual story drew me in. I loved how the story starts realistically and slowly then becomes more and more unreal. 

My favorite page was the one with the red peppers, who apparently needed some help getting down to the ground. But the mix of images and words are perfect. Wiesner has such a great sense of the absurd. A wonderful book, and I'm not just saying that because it is filled with food. Silly and fun. 

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