The Boy & the Book

David Michael Slater, illus. by Bob Kolar. Charlesbridge, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-58089-562-0
Slater’s (The Bored Book) wordless story seems headed toward a lesson about mistreating library books, but the lesson turns out to be one of surprising compassion. The book abuser is a young library visitor with a mop of black hair who grabs a blue book while the others flee (all of the books have expressive faces and sticklike appendages). A question mark above the boy’s head as he opens the book signals his non-reader status. Instead, he holds it upside down, rips it, tosses it, and folds the pages, accompanied by anguished looks from the book itself. On a return visit, the book’s efforts to avoid the boy are futile, and he strikes again. But then something wonderful happens: the boy learns to read, and he and the book are reconciled. Kolar’s (Stomp, Stomp!) digitally made figures are crisp and flat, and the expressions on the books’ faces do their comic work effectively. Library champions don’t usually tolerate the ill-treatment of books, but sometimes, Slater implies, what looks like bad behavior is just boundless eagerness. Ages 2–5. Author’s agent: Jennifer Carlson, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/05/2015
Release date: 03/10/2015
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