|Now||2019||Previous||Articles||Road Essays||Road Reviews||Author||Title||Source||Age||Genre||Series||Format||Inclusivity||LGBTA||Portfolio|
Are We There Yet by Nina Laden: 04/23/17
Are We There Yet? by Nina Laden is one of two road trip picture books with this title published in 2016. It like the Dan Santat book is about a trip to a grandmother's house. Neither trip is a straightforward point A to point B journey.
From the cover, it's implied that this trip will involve some outer space hijinks. What I wasn't expecting was another foray into the cornfield. So far I've looked at the cornfield as a barrier — to keep towns in, to hide the entrance to another world (Oz, the underworld, etc), and to imprison or banish people. Laden's book, though, suggests, too, a connection between the road narrative and the Minotaur — a maize maze, if you will.
Before the text even begins, this connection is highlighted through the endpapers. They show a labyrinth of two lane roads as seen from the aerial point of view of a green parrot. On the far right, there's a small red car — the one that the main characters are taking their road trip in (as seen from the cover).
The next clue is a mural in the city as they hit the open road. It shows an ear of corn above the words "Minotaur Maize" with a bull's head in profile below. What if characters like Anthony ("It's a Good Life"), Ozma, and the kidnapper in Bone Gap are different forms of the Minotaur?
Later as they pass through a rural, farmlands area, there is a farm with a Minotaur farmer working on his crop — a labyrinth of brightly colored flowers. By now it is clear that this family is traveling through a labyrinth, and run the risk of being lost if they don't stick to their intended route.