Going Up!

by Sherry J Lee (Author) Charlene Chua (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Today is Olive's birthday party, and Sophie and her dad have baked cookies. Sophie's dad holds the platter so Sophie can push the elevator button for the tenth floor. But on the way up, the elevator stops to let the Santucci brothers get on. Then on the next floor, Vicky, Babs and their dog, Norman, get in. And as the elevator ascends, it keeps stopping, and more neighbors squeeze in to the crowded space: the Habibs, the Flores family, Mr. Kwan, Vi Tweedle with her Chihuahua, Minx. Everyone is going to the party! Playfully combining the excitement and anticipation of a party with children's universal love of riding in elevators,

Sherry J. Lee's picture book story is ultimately about community and a sense of belonging. With characters from many cultural backgrounds, it showcases the everyday diversity that many urban children experience. Charlene Chua's illustrations provide loads of funny details and visual narratives that aren't in the text, making for a multilayered reading experience. The book's tall, narrow trim size adds to the effect of the rising elevator.

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Kirkus Reviews

This is a party that kids will want to join. (Picture book. 3-8)

Copyright 2020 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission 

Publishers Weekly

The enticing opening spread of Lee's debut, featuring a clever vertical format, showcases an invitation to a birthday party for Olive, to be held in the "10th floor party room." After arranging cookies on a platter, Sophie and her father, both brown-skinned, leave their first-floor apartment and push the elevator button, galvanizing a jolly journey upward. Spirits run high--and the elevator becomes increasingly and comically crowded--as it stops at each floor and an affable, multicultural group of neighbors joins the two. The fun is supplied by Chua's (Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao) mixed-media, crayon-hued pictures of festively attired party guests, who include the tattooed Santucci brothers; Mr. and Mrs. Habib and their two grandchildren, dressed as superheroes and holding a bowl of gulab jamun; and the six-member Flores family, all (save the baby) wearing their dancing shoes. On the top floor, a double gatefold opens to reveal the invitees eagerly pouring out of the elevator--and the guest of honor's identity. An added diversion is watching a ready-to-party feline sneaking in and out of the revelry. Ages 3-7. Illustrator's agent: Tracy Marchini, BookEnds Literary. (Apr.)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 1--Sophie and her dad are invited to a birthday party on the 10th floor of their building. After making their favorite cookies to bring along, they hop into the elevator on the first floor. Doors open and close, punctuated by "Going up!" as more neighbors join them, until the increasingly cramped conveyance spills out the merry crowd at the very top, revealing a surprise for readers. Chua's exuberant mixed-media illustrations depict a delightful array of guests of all ages, genders, races, and ethnicities, from the tough, tattooed brothers Santucci to the primly suited Vi Tweedle and the dancing Flores family. VERDICT A celebration of diversity and a lively portrayal of neighborly conviviality at its best, this story will put readers in a party mood, wherever they live.--Yelena Voysey, formerly at Pickering Educational Library, Boston University

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Sherry J Lee
Sherry J. Lee has worked in the book industry for many years, first as a bookseller and then in publishing. Sherry lives in Toronto with her husband. Going Up! is her debut picture book.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Age Range
8 - 12 years

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