Abner & Ian get right-side up

Dave Eggers

Book - 2019

Abner the duck and Ian the prairie dog are stuck sideways on the book's pages, and they will need the reader's help to set things right for storytime.--

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Location Call Number   Status
Children's Room jE/Eggers Withdrawn
Humorous fiction
Picture books
New York ; Boston : LB keys/Little, Brown and Company 2019.
Main Author
Dave Eggers (author)
Other Authors
Laura Park, 1980- (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
79 pages : color illustrations ; 23 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

A mind changer for anyone who ever thought that reading was a sedate occupation, this kinetic episode tasks viewers with the job of shaking the book until its two characters are actually standing on the illustrated ground instead of being perched sideways or upside down on the page edges. Those two characters, respectively a duck and a woodchuck, are given to sophisticated back-and-forth banter (and are basically stand-ins for Vladimir and Estragon). When we say now, says the duck, looking past the fourth wall, shake the book and turn the page. If only it were that simple the first shake leaves the two dangling from the top, a harder shake plants them waist-deep on opposite sides of the gutter, and subsequent shakes only result in more unsatisfactory configurations. At last, the woodchuck just counsels turning out the lights: We'll meet you on page 76. Two black page turns later, all is at last right, but now it's time for a nap. The temptation to start over and try for different results is almost irresistible.--John Peters Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In the style of HervAc Tullet-like interactive volumes, Eggers (What Can a Citizen Do?) starts with two characters who defy gravity, sticking out from the left and right sides of a spread as if mounted there. "We're supposed to be down there," grumbles Abner the duck. Ian the groundhog worries. "Did you have any ideas? Usually you have such good ideas." Abner calls for help ("Hey, kid! We need a hand") and asks the reader to shake the book: "Trust me. This is how it's done." Oops! Now Abner and Ian are hanging from the top of the page like bats. Requests for more shaking trap the two in the book's gutter, then their bottom and top halves part ways. Despite its single-note gimmick and some insider humor ("I have a brie allergy. And recurrent eczema," Ian tells Abner), the book is likely to please. Tasked with illustrating this all-dialogue tale, the gifted Park (the I Funny series) creates two instantly endearing characters whose expressions, as the two ponder, hold forth, and defend their positions from their idiotic perches, are funny and sympathetic. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 1-In this silly interactive book, a duck and a prairie dog find themselves sideways on the page instead of on the ground. They start up a dialogue about their predicament and ask readers for a helping hand. After requesting assistance, they awkwardly draw things out to build up anticipation, but from there on, the pacing, silliness, and intensity quickly ramps up, for with each shake of the page, their positioning only gets wackier. Upside down, popping out of the seam, half on one page and half on the other, no matter how hard readers work, they can't seem to right themselves. Finally they decide to try something different. For the most part, Eggers's writing takes center stage, and while the text on individual pages is usually brief, it goes on for 80 pages, which is quite a bit longer than the average picture book. Because of the nature of the plot, Park's illustrations don't change much. However, the old-fashioned designs and muted colors pair well with the candid tone; it is this contrast between the aesthetics and the premise that causes so much amusement. Overall, the creators have come up with a child-friendly way to talk about disruption and calm. VERDICT Even though this picture book is quite lengthy compared to others like it, the amusing, interactive story makes it worth the buy.-Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ont. © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Friends Abner, a duck, and Ian, a prairie dog, are stuck on the vertical edges of this book. With help from readers (` la Press Here) and after a few false starts, they eventually find their way to the correct orientation. Expressive cartoons, a strong sense of comic timing, and a simple text suited to new readers equal picture-book success. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Take reading for a spin (literally) with the newest metafictive comedy duo, Abner and Ian. Their oddball routine begins with Abner, a duck, and Ian, a prairie dog, standing sideways on the edges of the pagesparallel rather than perpendicular to the background. Abner suggests breaking the fourth wall to ask readers (referred to in the singular as "the kid") to help by shaking the book and turning the pages. Ian expresses some doubt about the idea. But, when Abner notes that they've "seen it work before" (a hilarious moment of meta-metafiction), the pals go forward with the plan. A countdown cue instructs readers to do as they're told. Subsequent page turns find Abner and Ian in various different post-shake orientations (upside down, in the gutter, all mixed up, etc.). Will they ever make it to where they're supposed to be so they can start the story? At 80 pages, the joke carries on a bit too long, but the witty back and forth between the two characters makes for a quick pace. Park's art matches a limited palette of earth tones with bright, bold backgrounds. Her cartoon characters are richly expressive, nicely varied within the context of the heavy compositional repetition required to fuel the comedy. Amusingly, Abner's scarf demonstrates at all times that it is subject to the law of gravity, even if the characters are not. Given the characters' broad vocabularies, it's a shame they resort to variations of "crazy" to describe how they want the book to be shaken.A very funny read-aloud done (mostly) right-side up. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.