cover image Just a Story

Just a Story

Jeff Mack. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4663-6

Extolling literature’s transportive properties, this picture book follows a child who discovers a magical purple tome at the library. As the brown-haired kid sits, absorbed, turning the book’s pages, surprising characters begin appearing in the inclusively populated library. After narrowly missing capture by two pirates and a hungry lion, the young reader is “almost trampled by a herd of wild elephants/ and then almost stomped on/ by a big baby dragon,” with wilder characters successively wreaking havoc. After the child leaves, hand in hand with a caretaker, another walks by with an elderly guardian and notices, then begins reading, the purple book. The motley fantastical cast reappears, emphasizing the universality and transcendence of a good story. Mack’s cartoon illustrations include fun details (the elephants have scooters and patterned helmets) and bold color choices that impart a sense of modernity. A gently humorous reading adventure. Ages 3–7. [em](Sept.) [/em]