Tuesday, October 18, 2022


By Jon Klassen


(Candlewick Press, 2021)



Jon Klassen, a wry humorist and talented illustrator who sticks to a muted palette, is perhaps best known for his picture book I Want My Hat Back. In The Rock from the Sky, he sticks with what he does so well. The book consists of five quick, comical tales that build on one another with a recurring cast that includes a turtle, an armadillo, a snake, a rock and an ominous creature from the future. 


All of the text is dialogue. Only the turtle and the armadillo speak, their parts distinguished by turtle’s lines appearing in black font while armadillo’s words are in gray. Each story moves quickly, the dialogue minimal, thus allowing the reader to spend extra time finding humor in the illustrations and inferring what is about to come, often as a surprise to the particularly unaware turtle. In looking at the scenes, I can’t help but wonder if Klassen grew up watching Looney Tunes cartoons featuring the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. The rock seems a stand-in for the old cartoon’s oft-present Acme anvil. 


This book doesn’t have the surprise factor that we got when I Want My Hat Back made its debut. We know what to expect of Klassen. Still, the book will satisfy readers and viewers.