Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mechanimals by Chris Tougas


I laughed out loud when I read this book the first time! I can't decide which I like better: the story or the illustrations. Maybe the story . . . a farmer, who has lost everything in a twister, is determined to make the most of the heap of scrap metal left behind. A cynical comment from a neighbor, "when pigs fly", gives him a brilliant idea. Within Mechanimals limited amount of text, 1-2 sentences or phrases per page, Tougas is able to present a problem, resolve, solution, and a happy ending. No, wait, maybe it's the illustrations . . . presented in scrapbooking style, the farmer, animals, and the "mechanimals" come to life and seem as warm and cuddly as any real cow, pig, chicken, or horse. My LOL came on the page where we see the chick-bots working hard, except for the one showing off his muscles. The lube and fueling cow-bot is also a real tickler. Tougas' watercolors, set against soft, pencil backgounds, are so enjoyable to look at. After you read it through a few times, go back and gaze at each page and notice the detail in all of the mechanimals. This is a perfect lap storybook (a book you read to a child sitting cozily on your lap).

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