cover image Charlie Cook's Favorite Book

Charlie Cook's Favorite Book

Julia Donaldson, , illus. by Axel Scheffler. . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-3142-4

Another charmer from the duo behind The Gruffalo , this circular tale begins and ends with young Charlie Cook sitting in a brightly-colored armchair reading his favorite book about a pirate. At each turn of the page, one book effortlessly leads to another. Each new narrative tells just enough of its story to intrigue and not enough to entangle, and the tale always ends with yet another book. Thus, Charlie's favorite book (Shiver Me Timbers ), for instance, stars a pirate who finds a book in a treasure chest (Fairy Tales from a Forgotten Island ). The pirate's favorite book features a story about Goldilocks lying in baby bear's bed reading his favorite book (The Bearo Annual ), which includes a story about Sir Percy, who reads a book (Joust Joking! ) to a dragon and so on. The story ends by circling back to a book "about a cozy armchair,/ and a boy called Charlie Cook." Scheffler's endpapers cleverly feature all 11 titles cited, plunked on a shelf guarded by bookend knights, and in the final image, Charlie is surrounded by the characters who appear in the previous stories. Preschoolers may find the post-modern touches difficult to grasp, but for older readers, this comical and entertaining book is bound to become a read-aloud favorite. Ages 3-5. (June)