I LOVE GOING THROUGH THIS BOOK

Robert Burleigh, Author, Dan Yaccarino, Illustrator , illus. by Dan Yaccarino. HarperCollins/Cotler $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-028805-1

This meta-book proclaims that pages offer not just stories, but literal spaces to investigate. Its animal characters peer out of a die-cut hole in the dust jacket, as if standing inside a room that the boy narrator is about to enter. In the opening spreads, a monkey stamps "This book belongs to" name plates everywhere, mischievously calling attention to proper reading conduct. After reprimanding the monkey, the narrator points out, "The way this page swings open,/ then closes—like a door!/ I'm heading into the next room now—/ because I want some more!" Rather than use real cuts and folds to suggest ripped and bent paper, Yaccarino (Oswald the Octopus, reviewed above) chooses a trompe-l'oeil technique. He paints dog-eared corners, a bear's cave opening on two consecutive spreads and a goat chewing its way through several pages. His thick, imprecise brushstrokes have tactile appeal, but do not lend themselves to visual trickery. Burleigh's (Lookin' for Bird in the Big City, reviewed May 14) imperfectly metered rhymes explain that a book is three-dimensional and full of surprises but, unfortunately, he then restates the idea without either inciting the imagination or carrying the theme further. Ages 4-8. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/04/2001
Release date: 06/01/2001
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