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story.lead_photo.caption Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

TITLE: High Five

By Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books for Young Readers, April 16), 58 pages, $19.99

STARRING: a crayon yeti (or maybe a gorilla?) that introduces itself as "Sensei" and proceeds to instruct the child we're entertaining to "high five" the book.

WHAT'S THE STORY? Scanning quickly when High Five came in the mail, I didn't see my grandkid understanding the neon crayon animals, the sing-song verses that trip over their own feet or the part where Sensei can't sleep. Into the discard pile it went, dismissed with a bit of envy because these guys are creators of the rapidly proliferating Dragons Love Tacos.

But being best-sellers means they get a book tour. On April 30, Rubin told NPR that High Five is about a secret championship for animals, a high-five contest. Sensei is recruiting our kid as the first human high-fiver.

That first-human bit is not in the book. But charmed by his nutty explanation, I studied the Karate Kid allusions, noticed sly wordplay in the silliness, and some neon symmetries lit up. A reader who rehearsed the verses could have real fun interacting with a 3-year-old here. Think of small palms going splat, splat — like Pat the Bunny, only dumber.

The kid wouldn't have to understand the plot.

Read to Me is a weekly review of short books.

Style on 05/06/2019

Print Headline: READ TO ME

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