Except If: A Puzzle of a Book


Except If by Jim Averbeck

Follow this twisting, turning puzzle of a book that has you thinking one thing and then transforming it into another.  It all starts with an egg that is cracking open.  It will become a bird “except if” it becomes a baby snake.  That snake will slither on the floor “except if” it is actually a lizard.  The lizard is actually a dinosaur, which is actually a fossil, which shelters a nest, where a familiar blue egg is resting.  What will be in the egg this time?

This book is pure fun.  The reader puts themselves into the author’s hands, unable to predict where this book will take them.  The fossil piece was one that I was happily surprised by, not expecting the book to head in that direction.  Averbeck’s use of spare language to great effect makes this a book that will read aloud well.  Its straightforward text is the perfect foil to the twists of the story line.

Averbeck’s illustrations are bright and bold.  The thick black lines and flat color evoke children’s coloring books, giving it immense child appeal.

Add this to any story time on dinosaurs or as the ideal ending book for any general story time.  It’s sure to be requested again and again.  Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

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