Everything but the kitchen sink gets tossed up a tree to help Floyd retrieve his kite—oops, there goes the kitchen sink too!
Floyd has one approach, and one approach only, to kite recovery: Throw something up to knock the kite down. He flings up a bucket of paint, the milkman, real trucks, a full-size lighthouse and “a curious whale, in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Everything sticks. Jeffers’ light-handed illustrations are hilariously droll. Some pages symbolize mood with a single color, boy and tree both murky brown with irritation or red with frustration. The text is handwritten in a childish yet legible scrawl, with liberal use of uppercase letters. The comically deadpan narration never overtells, moving straight from “Floyd fetched Mitch” (a cat) to “Cats get stuck in trees all the time, but this was getting ridiculous.” Sometimes Floyd verges on solutions, but he always lapses into the familiar pattern: “Floyd fetched a ladder. He was going to sort this out once and for all… / … and up he threw it. / I’m sure you can guess what happened.” Finally, Floyd fetches a saw, holds the blade carefully against the tree trunk—“and hurled it up the tree.” The giggle-inducing conclusion leaves some stuff, um, up in the air.
Floyd’s stubbornness and the smorgasbord-filled tree remain funny through repeated readings, offering kids the special glee of knowing more than the protagonist. (Picture book. 3-6)