The Rock From the Sky
Quintessential quirky Klassen is this sequence of five connected short comic episodes delivered with the author’s dead pan humour, not to mention that its main characters – a tortoise, an armadillo sport Klassen’s signature style hats.
The entire thing is delivered through (colour-coded) dialogue between Tortoise and Armadillo (plus those characteristic Klassen eye-movements).
The topic under discussion in The Rock is the best place to stand/sit. Tortoise favours one particular spot, “I don’t ever want to stand anywhere else.” But Armadillo is unfavourably disposed towards it, “Actually I have a bad feeling about it.’ And rightly so; he instead goes off to try another spot. A to-ing and fro-ing ensues but it’s not until Snake rocks up to join Armadillo that Tortoise decides to join them too – and only just in time … for something huge and mightily heavy falls on his erstwhile spot. Of course, we readers in on the joke, have been anticipating same all the while as we enjoy the mounting tension.
In The Fall, Armadillo attempts to act helpfully while Tortoise tries to save face zzzz. Episode three sees the two, eyes closed, contemplating the future
watched by a futuristic creature, while The Sunset is a contemplation of same – kind of;
and finally, in No More Room Tortoise takes umbrage “Maybe I will never come back” and is once more under the watchful Eye now no longer in the future,
but perhaps soon to be in the past. Thank goodness for asteroids!
Another weird and wonderful Klassen gem, albeit somewhat longer (90 pages) than usual, set in a minimalist landscape that offers much to ponder upon in a Waiting For Godot for primary school readers.