If you liked David Wiesner's surrealistic 1992 Caldecott Medalist Tuesday, then June 29, 1999 will send your spirits soaring like a frog on a flying lily pad. This wacky Wiesner creation chronicles an astonishing cross-country phenomenon on June 29, 1999. About a month earlier, on May 11, 1999, young Holly Evans launches vegetable seedlings into the sky from her home in Ho-ho-kus, New Jersey--on seed flats with Acme weather balloons. She expects the plants to stay aloft for a few weeks, allowing her to study the effects of extraterrestrial conditions on their growth and development.
On June 29, 1999, curious things start to happen all over America. A hiker in Montana finds giant turnips in the Rocky Mountains. "Cucumbers circle Kalamazoo. Lima beans loom over Levittown. Artichokes advance on Anchorage." TV news channels announce that arugula has covered Ashtabula, which puzzles Holly, because arugula is not part of her experiment. In fact, she is forced to conclude that none of the enlarged specimen sightings are a result of her initial seedling launch. Where did the giant vegetables come from then? Wiesner waits until the last pages to deliver the punch line. Throughout the book, his visual humor interplays perfectly with the sophisticated though minimal text. (A Mount Rushmore-like scene reveals the faces of Reagan, Bush, Nixon, and Carter carved out of giant potatoes with the caption "Potatoland is wisely abandoned.") This beautifully composed ode to absurdity makes us all wish we really could see parsnips over Providence. Awards and other recognition: 1993 ALA Notable Book, School Library Journal Best Books of 1992, Fanfare 1993: Horn Book's Outstanding Books of the Year, Publishers Weekly 50 Best Books of 1992, New York Times Notable Books of the Year 1992. (Ages 5 and older) --Karin Snelson [via]