What a Trip!

What a Trip!

by Arthur Yorinks, Richard Egielski

From the author and illustrator of HEY, AL, winner of the Caldecott Medal


From the author and illustrator of HEY, AL, winner of the Caldecott Medal

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Taking a tip from MAD magazine's fold-ins, longtime collaborators Yorinks and Egielski (Hey, Al; Sid and Sol) create a book with two trick spreads. Their title refers to a boy's mysterious drop "into another dimension" after tripping on the sidewalk, and it also implies the groovier meaning, since young Mel has a hallucinatory experience: "The bushes and the trees and the houses seemed the same.... But wait! Everything was pointy!" When Mel accidentally exits this "pointy dimension," he longs to prove it exists. However, his friends mock him, and when he trips himself on purpose, his parents send him to "a specialty camp for klutzes." A first scored page closes over the middle quarters of a spread to show Mel re-entering the dimension; when the spread is unfolded, readers see Mel's surprised father, who was with him a moment before. A second spread finds Mel menaced by his doppelgänger "pointy family," then folds in to hide Mel, as if the dimension has sealed. Beyond the gimmickry, the pointy dimension offers little; the comedy is in Yorinks's shtick-heavy language ("Oh, where's my Melville?" shrieks Mel's mom) and Egielski's vaudevillian scenes. All ages. (Oct.)

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Children's Literature - Melissa Stickles
Mel is an ordinary boy who trips while walking down Tottenhotten Street. His fall lands him into another dimension. Suddenly, everything on Tottenhotten Street is the same, except everything is shaped pointy—even the dog! Before he has the chance to explore the new pointy dimension, he trips again and falls back into the normal dimension. Mel tries to tell his parents and friends about his discovery, but they do not believe him. His friends laugh at him! He tries to forget about the pointy dimension, but everywhere he goes he notices things that are pointy. He even trips himself over and over on Tottenhotten Street, but nothing happens. His parents think he is going nuts! One day while he is at work with his father at the garbage dump, Mel trips and falls into the pointy dimension. He disappears right before his father's eyes. In the pointy dimension, Mel finds his own house and runs into his pointy parents and another Mel—who is also pointy. The pointy dimension family thinks he must be a monster, so they chase him around the house until he trips and falls back into his own dimension and his own normal family. The next time Mel has a dimension adventure to tell his parents, they do not think he is nuts. The author, Arthur Yorinks and Illustrator Richard Egielski, have collaborated to create many award-winning books, including Hey, Al which earned the 1987 Caldecott Medal. This irresistible children's picture book combines rich hues of color, fantasy and humor. Reviewer: Melissa Stickles
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2

Yorinks and Egielski are best known for crotchety, confrontational characters who live in urban neighborhoods, progress through fantastical plots, and whose exploits are narrated with sophisticated language and saturated watercolors. This book, however, comes up a bit short. The setting is suburban New Jersey in what appears to be a Jewish household, where the mother takes to "plotzing" on the couch when in distress. Young Melville is prone to tripping-with outlandish consequences. He descends into a "pointy dimension," where everything, including the formerly curved borders around the scenes, becomes angular. His family and friends are incredulous; the doctor just thinks he's a klutz. During a visit to his father's garbage dump, the boy disappears, only to emerge in a pointy version of his living room with a parallel, pointy, not very pleasant family. A chase ensues, and it is only when he trips "on the carpet his father in both dimensions never fixed" that he returns home to remorseful parents. Two folding pages contribute to the hide-and-seek climax, but this gimmick is only mildly interesting and doesn't reward repeated viewings. "Pointy" isn't enough to carry this tale, visually or linguistically, and there isn't much else going on. The story, alas, fails to make a point.-Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library

Kirkus Reviews
Always good for an offbeat tale, Yorinks and Egielski this time send a klutzy lad falling into and back out of a parallel dimension no different from ours-except that there are no curves there. The first time it happens, Mel is unable to get his parents or anyone else to take him seriously. The second time, he finds himself in a cubist version of his own home, attacked by pointy counterparts of himself and his family until he drops back into the view of his startled parents. Borrowing a trick from John Goodall (or maybe MAD magazine), scored pages can be folded over to allow readers to observe Mel's vanishing act by flipping the resulting half-page back and forth. In his typically neat, precise illustrations, Egielski depicts a seemingly ordinary child (could be you!) stumbling between ordinary suburban surroundings and a world in which everyone and everything looks fresh from an encounter with an electrical socket. Stranger things have happened-but not often. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 12.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Richard Egielski received the 1987 Caldecott Medal for HEY, AL, story by Arthur Yorinks, and he has also illustrated texts by Pam Conrad, Margie Palatini, David LaRochelle, and Jonah Winter. The books he has both written and illustrated include BUZ and JAZPER, both named Best Illustrated Children's Books of the year by The New York Times.

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