cover image The Wonderful Book

The Wonderful Book

Leonid Gore, Scholastic Press, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-08598-4

The Internet is rife with alternative uses for books, instructions on how to convert them into furniture, artwork—even bookshelves. The woodland animals in Gore's (When I Grow Up) story are on the same track. Rendered in watercolor and ink on textured paper, Gore's illustrations feature earth tones and an expressive cast. A scarlet book is first discovered by a rabbit, who decides it will make "a cozy little house." With the book propped up like a tent, he curls up underneath—until a bear confiscates it, growling, "That's mine! It will make a pretty hat for me!" The book becomes a table for mice and a bed for a fox, before a boy puts it to more traditional use, as the animals gather ("[H]e read about a little rabbit and a big grumpy bear. He read about some hungry mice and a tired little fox"). Children will enjoy lording their knowledge of the "correct" use of a book over the characters, and although Gore suggests the conventional method is best, the story raises the question: what else might a book be? Ages 3–6. (Nov.)