Looking Up is typical of Stephan Pastis and his style. Which means there is quirky, off-beat (and sometimes off color) humor. Sometimes you like the characters, sometimes not. They are not Pearls Before Swine as those characters can be adult and this book is for at least ages 10 and up (though younger could do as well, or be read to). However, that is until the end when we find a very powerful, and telling, twist. Of course, Pastis can be serious, too. After all, they create a form of “political humor” that makes you laugh as you are also saying, “Truth.” Therefore, from the art that has character to the text that tells about characters, you will love or not this tale of a young girl who is not as saintly as her name, but has a lot of sass and heart.
The character of Saint is not really my favorite person. I can sympathize with them, but at the same time, I really question her sanity. Then, when you realize why they have the reactions that they do and it all comes crashing down around you. And Saint. And when a little kid with big feelings crashes, well it is both sad and oddly, hopeful. We have followed Saint from the day of the party for the boy across the street. Where she steals his …. I mean rescues …. his pinata. From there things are just more and more crazy. She insults the birthday boy, Daniel; she gets upset at her mother for “broken promises”; goes to the toy store to find the perfect toy knight; talks to her life partner (her turtle); eats cheese on a rooftop; makes friends with Daniel; throws For Sale signs into the creek; and breaks more than a few eggs. Tall tales, and taller hair, all come together when we finally learn why Saint’s dislike of change is one with such passion.
I am assuming there will not be color to the final illustrations, as my online reader copy ws only black and white, and the book doesn’t really fit having too much in the way of color. However, they are very basic, no frills and dressings, and simple. The text moves the story more than the art, but the art is needed as you get the humor and goofs of things. It is one thing to know there are drawings on the ceiling of the attic, but it is another to see them. And the nice thing about Pastis is that they have a few other kid friendly books as well, such as Trubble Town and Timmy Failure. Of course, some of the Pearls Before Swine were adapted into works that were for younger kids as well, but do pay attention as sometimes they are more mature in nature.