The Extraordinary Mr. Qwerty by Karla Strambini
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: November 11, 2014
Norman Qwerty is a man of many ideas, and none of them are the least bit ordinary. He’s quite certain that no one else thinks the way he does and keeps to himself. But when his ideas get too big to hold in, he builds the most extraordinary thing! Soon Mr. Qwerty realizes he is not alone, surrounded by other people who were just afraid of what everyone would think of their ideas too.
For such a simple storyline, there is a lot going on here. Between the text and the multi-layered illustrations I found myself wanting to spend more time with the pictures to the point that I would forget what I had just read. Not good in a picture book format, which leads me to believe that this story would have been better served as a wordless picture book. The illustrations really are busy, but this wouldn't be a problem at all if there wasn't text to keep up with. There is enough information in the art for a reader to get an understanding of the throughline making the narrative unnecessarily redundant. I read through this a second and third time, without reading the words and found that it was easy to understand and engaging. Strambini really is a very talented artist so I am hoping to see more of her illustrations, although I am hoping that the marriage between text and pictures is better executed in the next book she writes.