Chloe and the Lion

8 08 2012

Some people complain that all the TV folks (Hawaii 5.0, CSI: Cleveland, Battlestar Galactica, The Office…) and those movie people (Spiderman: Again, Batman 14, Footlooser, The Smurfs, Harry Potter and the Tennis Balls on the Legs of His Walker…) can’t seem to come up with original ideas anymore.

To those folks, I have two things to say.  1.  You’re right.  2. Pick up a book – that’s where the original ideas seem to be.

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Adam Rex is a perfect example of creative, original thought.

I’ve never read anything quite like it.

First off, you have no idea what you’re getting into, and I don’t want to spoil the surprises in store for readers, so I’m going to keep this brief.  Just know that I whole-heartedly recommend this book for anyone who is currently breathing.

This book is the ultimate collaboration between author and illustrator, in fact, while the story unfolds in fun cartoony, cut-out illustrations on a fun stage, the author and illustrator interact with one another in the form of two claymation figures in front of the action.

Mac begins telling the story of Chloe, trekking through the woods in search of a dangerous lion.  However, Adam, when it’s his turn to add pictures to Mac’s words, he decides a dragon would be much scarier than a lion and changes the story.

Mac doesn’t like that his illustrator has gone rogue and the hilarity ensues.  Chloe and her quest are all but forgotten as Adam and Mac argue, Adam’s replaced, people get eaten by the out of control lion, Mac realizes he’s a terrible artist, and world’s most meta picture book gets out of control.

It’s like Inception for first graders, but fun and funny for all ages.  This one instantly shot up towards the top of my all-time favorite picture books, and I don’t think me or or my sons will tire of the craziness for a long time.

Chloe and the Lion was my 50th book this summer.  I’m on a quest to finish 90 books in 90 days over break.  

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