Abner & Ian Get Right-Side Up

Dave Eggers, illus. by Laura Park. Little, Brown, $18.99 (80p) ISBN 978-0-316-48586-9
In the style of Hervé Tullet–like interactive volumes, Eggers (What Can a Citizen Do?) starts with two characters who defy gravity, sticking out from the left and right sides of a spread as if mounted there. “We’re supposed to be down there,” grumbles Abner the duck. Ian the groundhog worries. “Did you have any ideas? Usually you have such good ideas.” Abner calls for help (“Hey, kid! We need a hand”) and asks the reader to shake the book: “Trust me. This is how it’s done.” Oops! Now Abner and Ian are hanging from the top of the page like bats. Requests for more shaking trap the two in the book’s gutter, then their bottom and top halves part ways. Despite its single-note gimmick and some insider humor (“I have a brie allergy. And recurrent eczema,” Ian tells Abner), the book is likely to please. Tasked with illustrating this all-dialogue tale, the gifted Park (the I Funny series) creates two instantly endearing characters whose expressions, as the two ponder, hold forth, and defend their positions from their idiotic perches, are funny and sympathetic. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 4–8. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/14/2019
Release date: 05/14/2019
Genre: Children's
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