Review of Lift

by Minh Lê; illus. by Dan Santat
Primary    Little, Brown    48 pp.    g
5/20    978-1-368-03692-4    $17.99

Lê and Santat (Drawn Together, rev. 7/18) present another story focused on everyday familial relationships, expressed through concise writing and extraordinary visuals. As young Iris waits for an elevator with her family in their high-rise apartment building on Monday, she says, “There’s one thing that always cheers me up: PUSHING ELEVATOR BUTTONS.” Same thing on Tuesday and Wednesday — but on Thursday, Iris’s pesky younger sibling gets there first. On Friday, Iris irritatedly retaliates by pushing “ALL THE BUTTONS!” A series of deliberately repetitive panels depicts the family’s subsequent tedious descent to the lobby, and growing frustration. After the sullen Iris pockets a discarded elevator call button from the lobby garbage bin, she tapes it up next to her closet door — and her real adventures begin. An encounter with an impressively illustrated tiger (similar to the stuffed version her sibling totes) and a journey to a space station lead to eventual sibling cooperation. The story’s clever premise is fully realized by Santat’s mastery of light and atmosphere, resulting in multiple arresting spreads. Readers will be excited to link aspects of Iris’s real world to her fantastical adventure, and intrigued by the open-ended conclusion. Uplifting.

From the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Patrick Gall
Patrick Gall works as a librarian for children in preschool through eighth grade at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.

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