Friday, November 22, 2019

Review - Going Up!

Going Up!
by Sherry J. Lee
illustrated by Charlene Chua
Date: 2020
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

An elevator ride to a birthday party turns into a shared experience bursting with joy in this multicultural story about community, togetherness and the special feeling of belonging.

Today is Olive's birthday party, and Sophie and her dad have baked cookies. Sophie's dad holds the platter so Sophie can push the elevator button for the tenth floor. But on the way up, the elevator stops to let the Santucci brothers get on. Then on the next floor, Vicky, Babs and their dog, Norman, get in. And as the elevator ascends, it keeps stopping, and more neighbors squeeze in to the crowded space: the Habibs, the Flores family, Mr. Kwan, Vi Tweedle with her Chihuahua, Minx. Everyone is going to the party!

Playfully combining the excitement and anticipation of a party with children's universal love of riding in elevators, Sherry J. Lee's picture book story is ultimately about community and a sense of belonging. With characters from many cultural backgrounds, it showcases the everyday diversity that many urban children experience. Charlene Chua's illustrations provide loads of funny details and visual narratives that aren't in the text, making for a multilayered reading experience. The book's tall, narrow trim size adds to the effect of the rising elevator.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This slightly claustrophobic picture book is rather cute, showing a community of friends all gathering together for a birthday party as the elevator takes them up to the tenth floor.

The story is told by Sophie, who goes to the party with her dad. They live on the first floor, so they take their cookies that they baked and get into the elevator. As they stop at each floor, more and more friends get on. And they're a diverse bunch. There's the Santucci brothers, who look like aging rockers (but who also love cats and knitting); the Habib family, whose grandkids are dressed as superheroes and carrying a South Asian snack to share; the Flores family, which includes an adolescent boy in a tutu; and even Arnie, who plays the bass and wears orange Crocs. Ignoring the weight limit on the elevator, the group eventually makes it up to the tenth floor and the party begins!

There are lots of cute details in the illustrations. This is a book that you'll probably want to look at more than once, just to make sure you see everything. The story is simple, but the concept is done quite well.

Overall, this is a pleasant picture book with a diverse cast and a joyous premise. Who doesn't love a party with friends?

Thank you to NetGalley and Hachette Book Group for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 3.83 out of 5

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