by Minh Lê (Author) Dan Santat (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

From the award-winning and bestselling creators of Drawn Together comes the fantastic tale of a magical elevator that will lift your spirits--and press all the right buttons!

Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it's time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she's pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own.

But when she's forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all.

Using their dynamic comics-inspired storytelling, acclaimed author Minh Lê and Caldecott Medal-winning artist Dan Santat carry readers on a journey of ups, downs, and twists and turns that will send hearts--and imaginations--soaring.

Select format:

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
Breaking the bounds of a traditional picture book, Iris' creative growth elevates us all.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 1-3—Young Iris loves elevators. She especially loves when her parents let her push the button. However, her relationship to elevators—and to her little brother—changes when he starts pushing the buttons. How rude! In an act of rebellion, Iris pushes all the buttons and breaks the elevator. When she finds the busted button panel in the garbage, she tapes it up near her closet to create an imaginary elevator of her very own. What wondrous places will it take her? All the text is speech bubbles and narration from Iris's point of view. Santat's illustrations carry the emotional heart of the story. The characters have expressive features—their eyes show frustration, wonder, and curiosity. Square panels are framed with thick black lines that convey the safe, enclosed feeling Iris has when she's inside an elevator. Yet when the elevator takes her to a jungle or into outer space, the thick frames melt away, leaving readers with awe-inspiring, full-bleed panels. The panoramic sights make Iris's eyes go wide with amazement—and older readers may be stunned, too. In the end, Iris decides to share the fabulous magical elevator with her brother after all. VERDICT Beautiful art enhances an uplifting story that encourages readers to share secret wonders with one another—even annoying kid siblings.—Chance Lee Joyner, Haverhill Public Library, MA

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

Collaborators Lê and Santat (Drawn Together) mix a tale about sibling rivalry with a classic fantasy quest. Spare text by Lê along with Santat's panel artwork tell the story of Iris, whose small, special pleasure is pushing the button in her building's elevator. One awful day, her task is appropriated, without warning, by her baby brother. Her parents and sibling beam with pride; Iris scowls. After an elevator repairman's visit tackles the out-of-service elevator next door, Iris retrieves the discarded button panel. "I wish I could be anywhere but here," she fumes. She tapes it to the wall next to her closet, and presses: "Ding!" Light breaks across her face as the closet door opens; her amazement presages wonders that readers can't yet see. Iris's first foray into a new world ends quickly, but she soon gets another chance, and a dazzling adventure unfolds--until an unexpected but very familiar voice brings her back. Santat's comedic versatility and theatrical use of light give the story cinematic momentum, while Lê's insight into Iris's conflicting emotions adds depth and warmth to the tale. Journeys to other worlds, Iris discovers, mean little without the warmth of her own. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Stephen Barbara, Inkwell Management. Illustrator's agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (May)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Minh Lê
Minh Lê is the acclaimed author of several picture books. His projects with Dan Santat include The Blur, which Kirkus called "a must-purchase" in a starred review, Drawn Together, which won the 2019 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and Lift, which received five starred reviews. Minh is also the author of Let Me Finish! illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and The Perfect Seat, illustrated by Gus Gordon. Minh has written for the New York Times, the Horn Book, and the Huffington Post. He currently lives in San Diego, California with his wife and kids.

Dan Santat is the #1 New York Times-bestselling author and illustrator of over a hundred books. His picture book The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend received the Caldecott Medal. He also illustrated The Blur, Lift, and Drawn Together, all written by Minh Lê, which received critical acclaim. Dan is the creator of the Disney animated hit The Replacements. He lives in Southern California with his family.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date
May 05, 2020
BISAC categories
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV013070 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Siblings
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Picture books for children
Fantasy fiction
Sibling rivalry
Little Maverick Reading List
Selection 2021

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