Rallison’s first book, The Odd 1s Out, taught the reader how exactly (not) to be cool, while The First Sequel goes on quite a different journey. Through tumbleweeds, pizza toppings, and finding out the world might just be flat, Rallison solidifies his place in the realm of comedy and coming-of-age awkwardness.
There were many moments in the book that caught me laughing out loud. The first chapter really speaks to the author in me, especially the discussion of fonts. The flow chart Rallison created for choosing the proper font is hilarious and oh-so-perfect. And yet, he somehow manages to top it with his ensuing discussion of stalking his first book in the bookstore.
The section “A Chapter for Everyone” is absolutely brilliant. I even thought I’d hit my laughing peak with the section for Australians. You may have guessed, and you’d be right: It’s written upside-down. The ability of Rallison to return readers to a state of childhood where we laughed over such silly things is a marvelous gift. The illustration “Villains Who Fell to Their Death” still makes me chuckle no matter how many times I return to it. Then, later in the book, he “proves” that the world is flat, except there are a few purposefully missing pages in his discourse which makes it all the better. But, no matter how incredible the rest of the book was, it turned out my favorite chapter was about getting his second dog. As a lifelong dog lover, I could completely relate to every bit of that section.
As with the previous entry in this series, the artwork is impeccable and easy to follow. Seeing the cover alone puts a smile on the face of readers, and each page is filled with new drawings to guide them on their way through Rallison’s mind. The art means just as much as the narrative, and without it, the book would not be the same.
With his first book and now The First Sequel, Rallison has managed to create a comforting, warm world where laughter is encouraged at every turn. A world that embraces the font Comic Sans in all its ridiculous glory. A world one doesn’t want to leave so easily, and one I’d love to revisit again and again.
Creative Team: James Rallison (Author and Illustrator)
Publisher: TarcherPerigee (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Click here to purchase.