|Yikes!!! at Amazon.ca|
Yikes!!! at Amazon.com
Author/Illustrator: Robert Florczak
Publisher: Blue Sky Press
Age Range: Toddler, Preschooler, Early Reader
Kid Love Factor: 4/5
Adult Sanity Factor: 2.5/5
Yikes!!! isn't so much a story as it is an experience. A young boy (or girl, if you prefer; the character is fairly androgenous and is only identified as a boy in the summary at the end of the book) explores "wild and dangerous places" and finds exotic animals along the way. For most of the pages, the only text is an exclamation of Oops! or Uh Oh! or Wow! It's the pictures that make this book amazing.
Full of detail and almost photographic in nature, the illustations show an abundance of dangerous animals in vivid colour with intriguing perspective. The protagonist swings with orangatans, dodges an irate tiger, nearly walks into a giant spider's web, and narrowly escapes a crocodile's jaws. But never fear, it's revealed at the end that the kid is merely dreaming these heart-pounding adventures; he or she is actually asleep under a tree in the backyard.
This one is bound to appeal to any young wildlife lover for sheer coolness factor. As a warning to adults, be prepared for your kid to hone in on whatever type of animal gives you the screaming heebies as his or her favourite. I know Boo fell in love with the giant (bird-eating!) orb-weaver - a perfect match to my arachnophobia issues. I've been trying to ensure he doesn't develop the fear as well, but I may have seriously overplayed my pseudo-enjoyment of gigantic spiders. Either that or the Spiderman shoes and trike helmet were a big mistake...
The last page of the book contains a summary which identifies all the animals portrayed, including those in the background. It also indicates which ones the US Wildlife Service considers to be endangered or threatened, which could be a great start to a kid-friendly conservation discussion.
Autism Spectrum Bonus: There are a wide variety of well-drawn facial expressions on the protagonist from joy to surprise to fear, yielding lots of opportunity to discuss how the kid is feeling and why he or she might be feeling that way. And you can bet this book will appeal to any kid with a Special Interest in animals, in particular creepy crawlies, but also primates and reptiles. I think Yikes!!! solidifies my need to find a local shrink who specializes in adult phobias; Boo seems to be headed towards a love of arachnids and if I want to be able to join in without becoming an Ativan addict, it's time to say goodbye to the irrational fear.
Bottom Line: Wow!!!
Yikes!!! on Amazon.ca
Yikes!!! on Amazon.com