With “High Five,” Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri have created a picture book that enchants and excites kids of all ages. I know, because in my own experience, this colorful and action-filled book has been a hit with kids from three years old through 5th grade.
I read this book to kindergarten students, and while the book is created so that a reader can high-five the characters in the illustrations, it worked because I had the students pair up and high-five each other. Warning: Have them do the eyes-closed high-five very slowly and carefully unless you want multiple visits to the school nurse! They loved the text, they loved practicing their high-fives, and they commented on the bright-with-lots-of-white-and-neon-colors illustrations.
The story is that there is a high-five championship, and the narrator is giving the reader tips on how to win the championship. There’s plenty of practice and information about the other contenders, including one experienced high-fiver who has more than two hands (think eight). Then the reader gets to experience the actual championship, with the same narrator explaining the scores — live! — from the panel of judges.
The readers won’t care who wins; they just have a great time high-fiving the cleverly drawn hands on the pages. And the fifth graders? They loved it, too. The teacher suddenly needed something to read to her students and grabbed it from my table. When I saw the students in my classroom the next day, they were still talking about the book. And I saw a few surreptitiously high-fiving the cover just to see how their hands fit.
I also read this book to my three-year-old grandson, and he loved playing with the illustrations and high-fiving the hands on the pages, even though he certainly didn’t understand the contest or the championship. Proof positive that this is a joyful book that will entertain and amuse kids of all ages. Adult readers might just give a high-five to one of the illustrations for fun, too. I know I did.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by the publisher, Dial Books, for review purposes.