By Dan Santat
The monkey, Mr. Pip, and his human friend, Frederick Lipton, live together and have fun. Mr. Pip is excited to share a birthday gift with Frederick, but so many things get in the way he isn’t able to. Mr. Pip was miserable, and Frederick decides to get doctors and others to check him out. Eventually Frederick takes him to the Guild of Geniuses to see if they can figure out what is wrong with him. (They can’t.) Eventually Mr. Pip is able to spend time with Frederick, and he is happy again.
This is a book about friendship, and how spending time together and honoring each other’s gifts is important.
Dan Santat won the Caldecott for one of his books. This book has illustrations similar to those he did for Dav Pilkey’s books about Ricky Ricotta. The reading level is 3.5.
This would have been a cool graphic novel. People are definitely more into graphic novels now than before. But I think this might have been better either as a graphic novel for older kids, or written at an easier reading level for younger kids. Visually this is very appealing to younger kids, but the drawings are sophisticated and have a lot of references that adults would understand more readily than children would. The story is fairly long for young readers, and older readers are generally moving away from picture books. It’s a good story. The pictures are well done. I think the format might be in the way. It would be fun to share with a classroom for a teacher or librarian. It would be fun to share with a family member. It seems like a narrow range of children would like this book. Let’s hope they find it when they are ready for it.
Review by Cheryl Baker, Teacher, Mill Creek Elementary
Rating: ★★★✩✩ (3 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-3
Author Website: http://dansantat.tumblr.com/
The Guild of Geniuses
By Dan Santat
Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: 2004 ; October 27, 2015 (Reprint)