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Shortcut Library Binding – September 25, 1995

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 530L (What's this?)
  • Library Binding: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (September 25, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395524369
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395524367
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,075,045 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

David Macaulay connects the seemingly unconnected in this playful, witty collection of overlapping stories. Young readers must listen and watch carefully in order to track one story's clues that later pop up in another story. For example, Albert and his horse June take a shortcut over the railroad tracks on their way to sell melons at the market. Because they get there so early they are able to go home sooner than planned. Three chapters later, Albert and June's efficiency leads to another character's disappointment... and even a run-in with the law. Then there's poor Professor Tweet, who runs afowl of a hot-air balloon ride. But a few chapters later we discover that Professor Tweet's misfortune has lead to another man's most excellent fortune! Macaulay's characters are thoroughly engaging, such as the horse June, who wears curlers in her mane and likes to kick back in front of the TV. Many know Macaulay as the master of pen-and-ink detail, but here he proves himself as a versatile color artist, offering a richly blended palette and unusual visual perspectives. A funny, child-friendly shortcut into the study of cause and effect. (Ages 5 and older) --Gail Hudson

From Publishers Weekly

In nine brief "chapters" energetically telegraphing seemingly disparate adventures, Macaulay comments wryly and wittily on happiness, happenstance and storytelling itself. Albert and his horse, June, travel to the weekly market to sell melons-their trip seems unremarkable enough, yet their simple acts, such as tossing a coin over a bridge for luck or untying a rope that blocks the road, set Macaulay's tiny clockwork universe into motion. Only the vibrant, hilariously detailed illustrations connect Albert and June's trip to the vignettes related in subsequent chapters. The rope that Albert removes, for example, unmoors Professor Tweet's hot air balloon; as Tweet drops ballast to avoid crashing into a town, he capsizes Bob's rowboat below; what Bob discovers as he splashes to the bottom of the river brings the tale back full circle to Albert's tossed coin. As in the author/artist's most recent books, he plays with nonlinear storytelling, looping the chapters in and out of sequence and overlapping the tales in unexpected ways. His illustrations, alternately recalling the vertiginous views of Cathedral and the inspired silliness of Baaa, make a perfect marriage of comedy and chaos. All ages.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on July 8, 2004
Format: Library Binding
Following up his success with the eclectic and Caldecott award winning, "Black and White", from 1990, author David Macaulay decided to write another multiple narrative infused picture book. If you've read "Black and White", you may remember how this kind of story works. Characters from different tales affect one another's lives and the reader has the joy of seeing how an action on the part of one person creates chaos or delight on the parts of others. The result is a meticulously crafted series of delicate vignettes, perfectly suited for the child reader. This is basically the equivalent of picture book jazz. And it works.

There are eight major players in this tale (two of whom are non-human) and Macaulay has presented a helpful chart of each and every one at the beginning of the book. When it begins, an older gentleman named Albert is going with his horse June to the town for market day. On the way there, and unbeknownst to him, he inadvertently affects every other character's life. Because of Albert, Professor Tweet loses control of his hot air balloon and unwittingly saves Clarinda's escaped cockatoo. Because of June, Patty must search for her pet pig Pearl. Then there are the stories of the Sybil (a dead ringer for the little old lady from Pasadena) and Bob, the unwitting deep sea diver.

Even as I looked through the pictures a third and fourth time, I still was able to locate clever little thoughts and details that I hadn't noticed before. The narrative in this story jumps between each character rapidly, sometimes double backing to clarify a situation or storyline. Probably this book will do best with those kids that are endowed with a little bit of patience. I can see this story striking some as being incredibly frustrating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christoher Hope on August 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have been reading this book aloud to small groups of children for about three years. And every time I pull it out, I discover yet another clue, hiding in plain sight in the illustrations. The story starts deceptively simple: Arnold and his horse June take their melons to market. But soon, more characters enter, and my young audience (and older listeners) is challenged to keep them all straight. Because the actions of one, always have consequences for someone else. (Is this life, or what?) But you have to look closely at the pictures, because most of the real story is there. (And seeing June, with her horse shoes off, her feet up, and her mane in curlers, is priceless) ENJOY.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Settlage on January 19, 2001
Format: Library Binding
The book Shortcut provides an exciting, humourous read for both children and adults. Seemingly unrelated events contained within nine short chapters are shown to affect each others outcomes. Even after 3 readings of Shortcut with my 5 year old son, we continue to joyfully discover the connections between events. Shortcut is a fun book for an inquisitive child and the reader.
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Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
Honk! Honk! This is another great book by award winning author David Macaulay.

Ever thought what would have happened if...? This is one of those stories - only better - because David goes into overdrive telling his hilarious story about how one action by one person changes the days and lives of many others. As is David's trademark, they story is of course very funny. It starts oh so innocently! Albert and his horse June are going to the market. On the way Albert cuts a line that is obstructing his way on the road. Well, that's when suddenly all mayhem let's loose and the day will take an unexpected and turbulent turn for various people and pets from then on. David takes us places where usually only kids can take you with their fantastic imagination - and it is a fantastic joyride all the way to the end. Surprise and laughter brought to life by brilliant illustrations of funny characters and animals.

If you like this one, be sure to check out his other great kid stories like "Angelo" and "Black and White".
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