Big Whoop! is the second picture book by illustrator, graphic designer and author Maxine Lee. It's also another great kids book from Pow!, a new, independent publisher dedicated to publishing "visually driven, imagination-fuelled" books that combine an "offbeat or humorous sensibility with outstanding design that delight children and grown-ups equally." Big Whoop! is definitely filled with an offbeat and humorous sensibility from cover to cover as well as perfectly matched illustrations that combine elements of collage with a colorful palette and very charming characters bursting with energy and imagination.
Big Whoop!, which has awesome endpapers covered in an array of mustaches, features Mr. Fox, who never smiles, and his friends, Roman and Harrison, who think that this is not healthy. Harrison and Roman try to get a response out of Mr. Fox by telling him that they have been to the zoo, parading their alligator and tiger costumes as well as a giant "zoo lolly," all they get in return is a "Big Whoop." Mr. Fox doesn't even take his eyes off the book he is reading to take a look at them!
This sends Roman and Harrison off on an ever escalating attempt to get a reaction out of Mr. Fox about something, anything. At this point, in less gifted hands, the mounting silliness could have gone off the rails, making the book feel more like a list than a story. But Lee truly does have a great sense of storytelling and a way with imagination and silliness and she brings it all together for a really great ending.
Roman and Harrison try to impress Mr. Fox by growing mustaches with bees living in them. Harrison operates a crane while wearing underpants on his head and Roman tames a dragon with only his mind and a broken chair. They walk to the moon with stilts made out of cheese, play chess with a slice of bacon (and lose) and time travel and invite a dinosaur to dinner. Failing to get even a tiny grin, the two take a break and make a sandwich, which they call a "sanglewich," for Mr. Fox. Midway through yet another "Big whoop," Mr. Fox is stopped in his tracks and left speechless by this act of generosity and thoughtfulness, to which Roman and Harrison reply, turning the tables and the tone, "Big whoop!" and "Great big whoop!"
Don't miss Maxine Lee's debut picture book, Pi-Rat!, in which swashbuckling adventures are had aboard the Soapy Dodger by a crew of swashbuckling rodents!
Source: Review Copy