Praise for Are We There Yet?
A 2018-2019 Young Hoosier Book Award Nominee
*"The energy of his riotous story...gives it a laser focus. It's a remarkable feat-a turbocharged adventure that's also a meditation on the relative nature of time."Publishers Weekly, starred review
*"Employing both comic-book-style panels and full-bleed spreads, the mixed-media illustrations are full of humor, and the changes in point of view keep the telling dynamic and engaging....A multilayered, modern-day parable reminding readers there's no greater gift than the present."Kirkus, starred review
*"Following his Caldecott win for The Adventures of Beekle (2014), Santat offers an imaginative account of a boy's car trip to his grandmother's birthday party.... The inventive format and engrossing artwork will make kids happy to go along for the ride."Booklist, starred review
"This imaginative take on the never-ending car ride is filled with surprises.... Filled with excitement and humorous details.... Full-spreads, giant comic panels, and alarmed expressions add to the fun."School Library Journal
"How do you follow up a Caldecott Medal win? If you're Dan Santat (The Adventures of Beekle), you turn the picture book form on its head...Visual clues...add depth and humor."Horn Book
"Santat digs deep into his stockpile of illustrative tricks to manipulate time and space through clever page turns, comics style sequential frames, background fade outs, and a wealth of loony details to keep viewers scouring the scenes for giggle-worthy details."BCCB
"Santat paints like the caffeinated love child of Delacroix and MacGyver....a mind-boggling clever idea."The New York Times
"Ambitious and inventive."
PreS-Gr 3—This imaginative take on the never-ending car ride is filled with surprises. Santat, creator of Caldecott Medal-winning The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend (Little, Brown, 2014), begins this story with an invitation to Grandma's birthday party, featured on the copyright page. The kid in the backseat is eager for the trip, but after the first hour, he is tired and cranky. Remarks like "Are we there yet?" and "This is taking forever" serve only to annoy his parents. Despite drawing paper, electronic games, a book, and several toys, including a monkey and dinosaur, the child is bored. "But what happens when your brain becomes…TOO… bored?" This question is spread over the top, down the recto side, and upside down at the bottom of the verso, causing readers to turn the book around as they read. An arrow instructs them to turn the pages in the opposite direction, which is somewhat counterintuitive, but once they get the hang of it, the novelty will delight. As the child in the backseat continues to complain, the family car drives through the old West, onto a pirate plank, to a medieval joust, to a pyramid in ancient Egypt, through the dinosaur age, and into the future. Though initially alarmed, the family eventually enjoy the adventure and finally arrive at their destination. At this point, readers must turn the book around again in order to arrive at the party, where numerous elderly friends and relatives are eating cake, wearing party hats, and offering presents. One man squeezes the grandson's cheek as another pats him on the head, causing him to whine, "Can we go now?" While the design is clever, though potentially confusing, the illustrations, rendered in pencil, crayon, watercolor, ink, and Photoshop are filled with excitement and humorous details—as the family travel back in time, their clothing alters to fit the scene, from prairie bonnets to caveman skins. Full-spreads, giant comic panels, and alarmed expressions add to the fun. VERDICT Most collections will want to purchase this original, amusing offering.—Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools
A car trip to visit Grandma on her birthday feels like "an eternity." What happens when you just get too bored? Most parents on a car trip have heard the titular question, but in Caldecott medalist Santat's hands, the familiar trip becomes an unforgettable romp through time and space. As the moment of absolute boredom reaches "forever," a clever twist forces readers to turn the book upside down and read "backward," time also going backward. The family car travels back to the Wild West, the days of Blackbeard, medieval Europe, and ancient Egypt. As the parents grow increasingly anxious (jousting was not part of their plan), the oblivious kid in the back continues to whine, finally noticing the moment the car is in when it reaches the age of the dinosaurs. In another literal turn of the book, time now flies by too quickly. The family and other fellow time travelers—met in moments of boredom—hurtle through time into the future, arriving at Grandma's address only to find her home is no longer there, and they have missed the party. But not to worry, it is only the mind playing tricks. Employing both comic-book-style panels and full-bleed spreads, the mixed-media illustrations are full of humor, and the changes in point of view keep the telling dynamic and engaging. Mom is white, Dad slightly darker-skinned, and the party guests (when they finally arrive) are thrillingly diverse if mostly a bit long in the tooth. A multilayered, modern-day parable reminding readers there's no greater gift than the present. (Picture book. 5-8)