The Extraordinary Mr Qwerty
Norman Qwerty is a real ideas man; he just loves to invent things – amazing things, Heath Robinson style. But so extraordinary are his inventions that he keeps them under his hat (a large bowler) – quite literally – for fear that others will think him strange. Consequently Mr Qwerty feels completely alone, for what he fails to see is that other people also wear hats, all manner of them.
There are cloches, boaters, top hats and fedoras all with hinged lids that can be unlocked and lifted to reveal such passions as butterflies, mathematics, exploration, tea even.
Eventually Mr Q’s ideas grow so huge they can be contained no longer. His piece de resistance is an enormous bird-like contrivance that spews forth appropriately egg-shaped ideas to all and sundry.
In this way creativity begets creativity we assume, thus fostering a community of diverse thinkers and creators. And Mr Qwerty himself? He’s is no longer alone, unless he chooses to be.
Karla Strambini’s detailed illustrations are rendered largely in black and white, abundantly hatched and with just the occasional dash of colour – Mr Q’s brownish red tie being the most notable coloured item. From the title page, the whole thing is littered with visual symbolism
leaving readers free to let their own imaginations run riot.
This unusual, fascinating book could well be used with children in both primary and secondary school; there is so much to look at, think about and discuss.
Imagination also runs riot in:
Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers
Either you will celebrate the creativity demonstrated herein or you’ll cringe in shock horror at the defacing, with black marker pen of the original saccharin sweet story.
(I have to admit when studying I have been guilty of writing my own comments all over textbooks, but I’ve never drawn in one). It’s something Matthew Myers does as he modifies the original pictures: He enhances, indeed completely revamps, the oil paintings with slightly smudgy black images of Alex’s anarchic making. It’s Alex too who renames the Birthday Bunny, Battle Bunny converting him from a cute character to a saw-wielding, helmeted and belted, eye-patch wearer bent on executing his ‘destructive Evil Plan’.
(Little Rabbit Foo Foo you have a rival here.) He does have one more asset under his belt too – an extra fighting style bringing his number to 1104, one more than (Shaolin) Bear and (Ninja) Turtle his would-be eliminators.
So is the world to be completely destroyed or can anybody stop Battle Bunny and his crazy plan? Thank goodness then for a boy who just happens to be called Alex and just happens to have a birthday too …
This hilarious book’s three co-creators/destructors are to be heartily congratulated: What a wonderful way to improve upon those cloying, sloppily written picture books out there – don’t try it with library or school books though. And, let’s hope that unlike our Birthday Bunny, readers will not be on the receiving end of a yucky offering inscribed on the flyleaf with such words as Happy Birthday Alexander. To my little birthday bunny on his special day. Love Gran Gran. After reading this, those who do will know just what action to take.
I’m off to get my hands on some of those terrible reading schemes to work on.