Big Plans by Bob Shea and Lane Smith is one of those picture books that I really looked forward to getting my hands on. I just happened across it at the library over the weekend and hurriedly checked it out to read to my girls. My two year old got up while I was reading to inspect something in the closet. My five year old started singing to herself and my seven year old rolled her eyes while I was reading. Despite their reaction, I really liked this book. The boy in this story has big plans. On his way to realize these plans he shouts things: "Listen up, big shots, bigwigs and muckety mucks....", and "'Look, are you a naysayer?' I'll say. 'Do you say nay'? I say." There are so many catchy little phrases included in this book that my children had no idea about. So, maybe I didn't do a good job selecting my audience. I'm willing to try with an older crowd...but I really feel like the book is intended for some group of kids, or maybe adults, who will "get" the humor. There aren't a lot of kids around with such a grasp on these humorous phrases who will actually find them funny. They might get the plot- that the boy is intent on realizing his big plans, which include becoming president and telling the world of his big plans, but the plot, while entertaining is only half of the story. I would so like to try this with a certain group of ninth graders who "got" a lot even when I taught them back in first grade. I can almost see them laughing now.
Lane Smith's illustrations are wonderful as he uses collage as well as photographs on some pages. Just as in Madame President there is a lot to look at and notice and think about.
I'm not giving up on this book yet....I will try it with a few other age groups and see if there is any eye rolling going on.