Mightier than the Sword by Drew Callander and Alana Harrison, illustrated by Ryan Andrews, 320 pp, RL 4
Mightier than the Sword
by Drew Callander & Alana Harrison
Art by by Ryan Andrews (and YOU!)
Review Copy from Penguin Young Readers
Plot: "Your book. Your pencil. Your world," is the tagline for this extraordinary interactive book that, "encourages doodles, creative thinking and insane fun." The authors, who also work as filmmakers, writers and improv comedians, bring the humor from the start. In chapter one, You find yourself on the beach reading a message pulled from a bottle while slices of pizza fly overhead, dropping toppings on You a they fly past. Your tour guide in this strange new world is a stoat (NOT a weasel) named Manteau who is a Courrier from the land of Astorya, where REAL humans can write anything into existence (which You do, writing up your favorite dinner and dessert for a start.) He travels the Galick Sea (a footnote, of which there are many, both informative and funny, tells you is pronounced "galaxy") collecting stories from the real world then storing them safely in Astorya. Together with the help of Manteau, You must rescue Prince S., the writer of the note in the bottle from the first chapter, from the Fuchsia Plum Palace of Queen Rulette, where he is stuck in the Margins, a "depressing place full of Doodlings." If You don't rescue the Prince before midnight (the time is included with each chapter heading), You will never see the real world again...
Why Read? Why Buy?: There is so much in this book that I can't even fit into this review, from the hilarious (Manteau tells you you are, "putting Descartes before zee horse,") to the disgusting (a "Brobdingnagian road apple," with no footnote to explain Swift's horse creatures) to the magical (a "Pegataur" - a Pegasus-centaur - dressed like a cowgirl). With this much going on, as well as the interactive parts, this book is definitely best suited for a strong reader or, even better, read and completed as a family/group read out loud. Andrews's illustrations are fantastic and just a tiny bit evocative of the stellar Brett Helquist. All this put together, and it leaves me hoping that this creative trio will partner again to write a traditional fantasy book/series that carries on the intelligent humor of this fantastic book.