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Lift: 05/18/20


Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is a picture book about Iris who loves her family role as the elevator button pusher. When her younger brother is old enough to start pushing the button she isn't happy. Her desire to have her own elevator takes her on an unexpected journey.

In the background of the first few pages the second elevator is shown to be out of order. There's a person working on repairing it. They leave behind the old call button and Iris claims it in a fit of pique.

With the logic more typical of picture books, such as Lift, the elevator button continues to have it's ability to call an elevator. When an item is retired from it's mundane service, it takes on the ability to go unexpected places or to work in unexpected ways. It's an obvious gag here but something that nonetheless serves to place this book onto the road narrative spectrum.

At the heart of this book, Lift is about the evolving relationship of siblings. Call it their journey through life. As such, Iris and her brother are joint travelers (CC).

The places Iris goes first by herself and later with her brother are impossible places to reach via an apartment building elevator. As they are unnamed in the text, these places are collectively no places or utopias (FF).

The route the siblings take is via an elevator, a transportation device that either goes up or it goes down. It's route is fixed by the architecture of the building. Although this elevator is now capable of going to utopias, it still otherwise acts as an elevator. For this reason, I'm including elevators into the interstate/railroad category (00).

All together, Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat is about siblings traveling together to utopia via the railroad (here represented by an elevator) (CCFF00).

Five stars

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