The Rock from the Sky (Hardcover)
Spring 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“With never disappointing, always entertaining, and always lovely stories, Jon Klassen has outdone himself with this one! My children are huge fans of the absurd, dry, and slightly dark humor of his books, and The Rock From the Sky just takes it to another level. Parents and kids will request this one over and over.”
— Ryan Kimmett, Kismet Books, Verona, WI
The instant #1 New York Times bestseller!
Look up! From the Caldecott Medal–winning creator of the hat trilogy comes a new deadpan gem.
There is a spot.
It is a good spot.
It is the perfect spot to stand.
There is no reason to ever leave.
But somewhere above there is also a rock.
A rock from the sky.
Here comes The Rock from the Sky, a hilarious meditation on the workings of friendship, fate, shared futuristic visions, and that funny feeling you get that there’s something off somewhere, but you just can’t put your finger on it. Merging broad visual suspense with wry wit, celebrated picture book creator Jon Klassen gives us a wholly original comedy for the ages.
About the Author
Jon Klassen is the author-illustrator of I Want My Hat Back, an E. B. White Read-Aloud Award winner and a Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book; This Is Not My Hat, winner of the Caldecott Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal; and We Found a Hat. He is also the illustrator of two Caldecott Honor Books, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and Extra Yarn, both written by Mac Barnett. Jon Klassen lives in Los Angeles.
With its muted, desolate landscapes, 'The Rock From the Sky' is hilariously dark, especially about social relations. . . . Though this delicately deadpan book evokes children’s tales of love and companionship, its message isn’t remotely warm or fuzzy. That’s beautiful. If Samuel Beckett had written a kids’ book, this might be it.
—The New York Times Book Review
A savant of deadpan storytelling, Klassen offers a long-form picture book that is high in suspense and humor. Using the wonderful technique of color-coding the sparse and cheeky dialogue so readers know instinctively who is speaking, this book feels every bit as theatrical as the Hat trilogy. Klassen’s recognizable art style, featuring muted hues and speckled watercolors, utilizes sparse landscapes and open skies to keep the reader’s full attention on the story’s quirky characters, while carefully placed, wordless spreads heighten both tension and humor or bring resolution. His ability to create so much dark humor with so few words and to infuse his critters with such a depth of personality is part of why Klassen’s work is so beloved, as this new addition promises to be.
—Booklist Online (starred review)
In this collection of five connected short stories, clocking in at over ninety pages and composed solely of dialogue, Klassen introduces readers to a turtle, an armadillo, and a snake—all in hats, of course. . .Throughout, Klassen’s characteristically deadpan humor refuses to patronize readers; he lets them in on the joke, as always, putting them one step ahead of the protagonists. Smart, funny, and offbeat, this is quintessential Klassen.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
The most gratifying feature of this new offering by Caldecott Medalist Klassen is that there’s so much of it—96 pages of dark, Beckett-caliber comedy. . .In this pleasurable volume that’s just right for uncertain times, Klassen proves himself a top-notch student of the way that conscious beings seek to take charge of their own realities—efforts that nearly always fail and, in this world, are sometimes punctuated by falling rocks.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
If Samuel Beckett had written an early reader, it might look something like this one. . . Klassen’s animals react to their seemingly absurd—but never tragic—universe with characteristically subtle, humorous postures and eye maneuvers. The weirdness of it all exerts its own attractive force, drawing readers back to it to wonder and ponder. . .Waiting for Godot imagined for the playground population’s sensibilities.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Klassen at his droll best, in five short chapters that are outstanding examples of pacing, less-is-more illustration, and comedic timing. . . Wacky, witty fun, this could be used to introduce a unit on humor, all done in classic Klassen digital and watercolor tones and shapes. . . Laugh-out-loud funny; children will be predicting, warning, and laughing their way through any reading and multiple rereadings of this tour de force from a master of the picture book form.
—School Library Journal (starred review)
The art is fascinatingly cinematic in a flip-book kind of way, using the static nature of the simple scenes and repeated compositions to set off the drama of small gestures, changes of position, and eye shifts; of course, this being Klassen, all three animals sport natty headgear, ranging from bijou bowlers to a lovely little beret for the snake. The sly humor and touch of sci-fi will make this a winner for reluctant later-stage readers as well as beginning readers developing their stamina, and it’ll be a great conspiratorial co-read with adults or sibs.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
Mr. Klassen’s deadpan humor—in picture books such as ‘I Want My Hat Back’ (2011) and ‘We Found a Hat’ (2016)—has an existential bleakness that elementary-school-age kids for some reason find incredibly funny. For this audience, Mr. Klassen has outdone himself with ‘The Rock from the Sky’. . . Mr. Klassen’s storytelling seems simple, but it’s not: There’s all kinds of metaphysical mischief happening here. So much so that, after reading ‘The Rock from the Sky,’ even adults may be tempted to start looking around them in that shifty, Jon Klassen-ian way.
—The Wall Street Journal
The writer and illustrator Jon Klassen has become something of a star following the trilogy that started with I Want My Hat Back, his spare, dry style offering a darkly different take on life for young readers while inspiring internet memes and even tattoos for the oldies. All will surely love his latest, The Rock from the Sky (Walker), a picture book in five vignettes with a distinct, absurdist flavour and Klassen’s trademark muted palette.
Fedoras, berets and unblinking eyes reveal more emotion, action and character than you might think possible. In these 96 pages Klassen writes about hubris, despair, existential angst, envy, inflexibility and friendship. But it's funny! Children will adore these stories. And adults, I suspect, will adore them, too.
—The Star Tribune
Using his signature deadpan humor and charming illustrations, the Caldecott-winning creator of the Hat Trilogy brings us a new story. Friendship, fate, and premonition collide in this hilarious and suspenseful picture book.
Klassen’s new book, The Rock from the Sky, turns this eternal struggle — toward, and away from, other people — into an epic that I’m not ashamed, as an adult, to have studied for possible tips.
—The Los Angeles Review of Books
A perennial favorite of the children’s book set, Jon Klassen is both author and illustrator. His books, like This Is Not My Hat and We Found A Hat, blend humor and nihilism in a way that delights both kids and adults. The Rock From The Sky is no different. A story of how sometimes the perfect spot to stand isn’t that perfect at all—and how you never really know what will happen—The Rock From The Sky is a wry and suspenseful book that will charm even the most cynical readers.
—The A.V. Club
The Rock from the Sky refuses to be anything other than what it is – an utterly gripping mix of surreal intensity and edge-of-your-seat mundanity. Almost nothing happens yet everything happens. And it’s funny! The result is one of the most unforgettable reading experiences of the year.
—100 Scope Notes
This book is vastly important. It deals with one of the darkest parts of American history that is so often left untaught and overlooked: the internment of Japanese Americans during WWII. This graphic novel tells George Takei’s story of going through that dark time as a child, with the strangeness of growing up in an interment camp, the weight his parents carried for the family, and the deep cultural and personal trauma left behind by the internment-- but also the inspiration this experience gave him to be an activist for change. This book is heavy but oh-so necessary and very moving, and it is truly a very engaging and enthralling read.
(Young Adult Graphic Novel, Ages 12+) - reviewed by Isabel