cover image You Have to Read This Book!

You Have to Read This Book!

Bruce Eric Kaplan. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-6286-1

When Morris, a bowtie-wearing bear father, secures a copy of his favorite childhood book, Tom, the Angry Truck, he insists that his cub Benny love it as much as he does. But Benny doesn’t, and an epic battle of wills begins, with Dad bringing an instantly recognizable, annoyingly indefatigable energy to the table. He plants the volume in places where Benny can’t avoid it and tries bribing him with a sundae for breakfast: “Sorry we didn’t have time for the book,” says Benny, after consuming the sundae in mere moments and developing a stomachache. Finally, he takes Benny to the middle of a desert where there’s “nothing. Just the book.” The standoff is classic Kaplan (Someone Farted), from Dad’s comic mania to Benny’s precocious, oppositional sense of self (“I don’t need any more negative energy in my life,” he tells Dad following his initial rejection of the book) to the desert scene, where the author’s signature black outlines and starkly configured spaces are punctuated with traffic-warning-sign yellow. It’s the ideal book for kids working to lead their own personal resistance—and for well-meaning parents who just want to be involved with their offspring. Ages 4–8. [em](Mar.) [/em]