Written and Illustrated by: Marty Kelley
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
Publication Date: July 2019
Reviewed by: Ellen Feld
Review Date: August 24, 2019
A clever boy and an adorable dog with comical expressions come together for a very funny book about jet packs and flying into space.
Ian is a bright young man who likes to build things. He also keeps a science journal to record his exploits. Today he is working on “Experiment #256” which is an experiment to “build a jet pack for my dog, Wilbur.” What could possibly go wrong?
The story is told through notes that Ian writes in his journal as his project comes to fruition. The first note has these bullet points: “Launch was successful, jet pack is very fast, leftover parts may have been the brakes.” No brakes? Oh, oh, that doesn't sound good...
Poor Wilbur flies through the air, the house, the backyard, and eventually, up into space. As he zooms about attached to the jet pack, he bonks into various people, each of whom is “not happy.” When he flies off to space, it looks like he might be lost forever. How will he get home?
Experiment #256 is a wacky, hysterically fun adventure about a boy and his very sweet dog. Told with minimal text – the brief notes on each page are the only text – the story is really told through the fantastic illustrations. Wilbur’s facial expressions are priceless, as are the reactions of those impacted by him buzzing by them. The story has a happy ending, with Wilbur getting the best deal out of a somewhat broken jet pack, and kids will no doubt love the adventure “his boy” Ian sends him on.
Quill says: Youngsters, whether budding scientists or not, will love Experiment #256 and no doubt burst out in giggles as Wilbur the dog flies about with his jet pack.