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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 10/01/2014 K-Gr 2—Two brothers jump to conclusions when their mother announces that they will have a surprise at dinner. Could it be a new bike? Tickets to a show? A swimming pool in their yard or an elevator for their high-rise building? Or maybe it's a two-week vacation in Hawaii that their parents won in a contest. Convinced that it's the latter, they tell everyone at school, and the principal rewards their good fortune by giving all the students 10 minutes of free time. Rushing home after school, the narrator is deflated when Mom tells him that the surprise is pizza for dinner. But with a little creativity, plus a pineapple and coconuts, the family enjoys a make-believe Hawaiian meal.Mackintosh's animated cartoon illustrations are rendered in pencil, ink, and watercolor, with some mixed-media collage. The offbeat pictures illustrate the boys' wild imaginings with a mishmash of crazy angles, detailed scribbles, and bizarre inserts that children will want to examine up close. Lettering in various sizes and placements adds a quirky dimension and kinetic energy to the story. Fans of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's frenetic books will appreciate this entertaining tale.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 10/01/2014 A nameless young boy and his younger brother Leo are told by their mother at breakfast that they are “having a surprise at dinner that night.” This teaser sets the boys to thinking of a wide range of possible treats and gifts, which over the course of the day snowball into a two-week all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii won through a radio competition. As news spreads across the school, the boys’ windfall becomes the students’ windfall; 10 minutes of extra recess is awarded to all to celebrate. At the end of the day, the boys dash home to pack, where—“Surprise!”—they discover a surprise a tad bit less impressive. Ultimately, the impact of the surprise is twofold: the boys had the fun of anticipating their surprise all day, and then, when all is said and done, they realize how lucky they are. The artwork, reminiscent of John Burningham’s, combines collage, pencil, and crayon and is as frenetic and free-flowing as the boys’ whirring imaginations. At turns exuberant, sweet, and humorous, this is a delightful surprise. - Copyright 2014 Booklist.