Three kids find an old typewriter, igniting spectacular surprises when they start playing with it.
Wearing parkas and riding bikes, a white boy, an Asian boy, and a black girl follow a butterfly down a road bordered by snowbanks to an abandoned carousel, where a seat in the shape of a giant bumblebee holds a mysterious black case. Opening the case, they find an old manual typewriter bearing the logo “SpellingBee.” Retrieving paper from her backpack, the girl rolls a piece onto the platen and types the word “Beach.” Instantly, they’re on a sunny beach. When one of the boys types “Ball,” a beach ball appears. Typing “Ice Cream” produces a larger-than-life bucket of ice cream. Mischievously, the girl types “Crab,” and a sci-fi–sized crab with menacing claws chases them. Realizing her mistake, the girl hurries to type the right words to save this incredible day. As in Fossil (2013), Thomson relies on acrylic paint and colored pencils in his signature style to create illustrations of startling photographic realism. Adroit use of light, exaggerated and unusual perspectives, and intense close-ups emphasize the kids’ facial expressions (curiosity, surprise, joy, awe, terror) as well as their size in relation to the gargantuan ice cream bucket and fearsome crab.
Words rule in this intriguing, impressive, imaginative, nearly wordless narrative drama. (Picture book. 5-9)