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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 1 year, 3 months ago

7 March 2020 UNSTOPPABLE by Adam Rex and Laura Park, ill., Chronicle, May 2020, 56p., ISBN: 978-1-4521-6504-2


“Make someone happy, make someone smile

Let’s all work together and make life worthwhile

Let’s work together, come on, come on

Let’s work together, now now people

Because together we will stand, every boy, girl, woman, and a man”

-- Canned Heat (1970)


SWIMMY, a 1964 Caldecott Honor book, is the ultimate, classic, picture book portrayal of cooperation:


“‘Let’s go and swim and play and SEE things!’ he said happily.

‘We can’t,’ said the little red fish. ‘The big fish will eat us all.’

‘But you can’t just lie there,’ said Swimmy. ‘We must THINK of something.’

Swimmy thought and thought and thought.

Then suddenly he said, ‘I have it!’

‘We are going to swim all together like the biggest fish in the sea!’

He taught them to swim close together, each in his own place, and when they had learned to swim like one giant fish, he said, ‘I’ll be the eye.’

And so they swam in the cool morning water and in the midday sun and chased the big fish away.”

--Leo Lionni, SWIMMY (1963)


A couple of generations later, UNSTOPPABLE, by Adam Rex and Laura Park, is the wackiest picture book depiction of cooperation that I’ve ever read. 


[Crab] “Oh! If only I might escape this life of muddy scuttling and fly. And FLY! To soar, happy and carefree--”

[Bird] “Oh man, are you joking? Do I look carefree? I almost got eaten by a cat.”

[Crab] “I...just wish I could fly, that’s all.”

[Bird] “And I wish I could pinch that cat on the nose with big, snapping claws.”


From the look on the crab’s and the bird’s faces in the following, wordless illustration, they are having simultaneous epiphanies. Turn the page, and the bird is using his feet to grab hold of the crab. 

Then they take off:


[Crab] “I can FLY!”

[Bird] “I have CLAWS!”

[Bird] “Crabbird!”

[Crab] “Birdrab!”

[Both, upon teaching the cat a lesson] “UNSTOPPABLE!”


If two cooperating is good, three is better. Adding a turtle, they can swim and fly like a duck. Of course, four is better yet! They add a bear in need of friends. 


Kids will marvel about that smiling bird flying around with everyone else hanging down and holding on. 


But that’s nothing! When a more serious threat appears, they swoop into the Oval Office and take off with the President in tow! And, no, it doesn’t even stop there.


In the real world, there are many issues that would benefit immeasurably from national and worldwide cooperation. In that sense, this wacky book is really important. UNSTOPPABLE shows young readers how cooperation can be a real win-win proposition...and a barrel of fun.


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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