cover image How This Book Was Made

How This Book Was Made

Mac Barnett, illus. by Adam Rex. Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-4231-5220-0

Barnett and Rex concoct another self-referential story, this one about the process of bookmaking. As in Chloe and the Lion, Barnett and Rex star as writer and illustrator. With the help of an editor (“she is like a teacher, only she works in a skyscraper”), a tiger, pirates, and a cast of thousands (well, dozens), the manuscript leaves Barnett’s desk, undergoes editing, and arrives at the printer in Malaysia (“A lady put the words and the art into one side of the machine and out the other end came this book”). Rex’s elaborate paper sculptures look like classroom dioramas, even employing an actual globe to show the book’s journeys, whether it’s the manuscript crisscrossing the U.S. during edits or the slow boat bringing the printed book to the States. Although Barnett’s comic patter bypasses many questions—why print the book in Malaysia?—readers won’t have any difficulty sorting fact from fiction, and they’ll appreciate the sentiment that “a book still isn’t a book, not really, until it has a reader.” Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)