Don’t Turn the Page!

Rachelle Burk, illus. by Julie Downing. Creston (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-939547-06-4
The title may make readers suspect that they’re in for dire warnings in the vein of The Monster at the End of This Book, but Burk (Tree House in a Storm) actually has delay tactics on the mind. A hedgehog named Sami knows that the end of a bedtime story means it’s bedtime. “I’ll let you read one more page,” Sami tells her mother in one of several small capitulations that satisfy her curiosity about the story they’re reading, about a bear’s preparations for bed. However, Burk doesn’t avoid metafiction entirely. Downing’s (Spooky Friends) illustrations shift between cozy scenes in Sami’s tree-trunk home and equally snug images of the mother bear and cub in the book. There’s more: Sami has a toy bear, the bear in her book has a stuffed hedgehog, and both animals are reading the same book that (human) readers are holding. That final touch is an oft-seen visual Easter egg, but in this case, it underscores a reality-bending connection between reader and text, especially after the last pages reveal that the bear family may not be fictional after all. Gentle yet clever stuff. Ages 3–8. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/07/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
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