Saturday, July 16, 2011

Except If by Jim Averbeck

An egg is not a baby bird. But a baby bird can hatch out of an egg, except if it's a snake instead. And that snake will slither along the ground, except if it's a lizard, it has legs to walk on. And so this story unfolds with twists and turns around every corner. Do you think you know what comes next? You might...except if things go in an unexpected direction.

Except If is a book that will get children's imaginations flowing. Kids who are used to straightforward storytelling will instead find a story that zigs and zags all over the place. I did wonder if it would be confusing for kids, and I suppose it still could be, but each of the exceptions is so logically presented that when you're reading it, it seems to make perfect sense. The layout of the book and the repeating refrain of "except if" will also help readers to know when a transition is coming. The book also uses the endpapers in subtle ways; I didn't realize that the smudgey black mark on the right hand side of the front cover was the egg cracking until after I was rereading the book. I love it when authors, illustrators, and publishers use endpapers in fun ways.

Find it at Amazon.

Read it with:
First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck and Tricia Tusa
Perfect Square by Michael Hall
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

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