Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: I Don't Believe it, Archie! by Andrew Norriss

I Don’t Believe it, Archie! by Andrew Norriss, illustrated by Hannah Shaw. March 13, 2012. Random House. 128 pages. ISBN: 9780385752510

Every single day, no matter what, something absolutely unbelievable happens to Archie. In this book alone, which takes place over the span of just one week, Archie finds himself accused of killing a dog, glued to the door of the public library, and mistaken for a kidnapping victim. Though Archie often finds his hectic life a bit overwhelming, this week is different because he meets Cyd. As Archie’s new best friend, she is there for every strange occurrence and helps Archie get out of trouble and back home again.

The clever premise combined with truly entertaining storytelling make this book really shine. Each of Archie’s unlikely experiences is sillier than the last, and not one episode feels weaker than any other. They’re all laugh-out-loud funny and equally exciting and engaging. Each chapter ends with the same punchline - Archie comes home not having completed the task he was sent out to do, and his mother says, “I don’t believe it, Archie!” Even this repetitive joke is funny each time it is delivered; kids will find themselves anticipating the moment and, if the story is read aloud to them, chiming in on the refrain

What makes me love this book is not just the silly occurrences, but the fact that they all add up to something. At the end of the story, we see each of the previous chapters’ events come full circle, and Archie actually develops friendships with some of the people he’s met during the week. There’s a clear “what goes around comes around” type of message, but with a very positive connotation.

I Don’t Believe it Archie is a great title to suggest to fans of Mercy Watson, Dr. Seuss, and Louis Sachar. Crowding the Book Truck also recommends it to readers who like Amelia Bedelia, which is a great thought that hadn’t occurred to me!

I borrowed I Don't Believe it, Archie! from my local public library. 

For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.

NOTE ADDED 10/16/12: This book was nominated by Gill Robins for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!   


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