cover image I Do Not Like Books Anymore!

I Do Not Like Books Anymore!

Daisy Hirst. Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5362-0334-9

In this follow-up to Alphonse, That Is Not OK to Do!, siblings Natalie and Alphonse have become heavily invested in the prospect of Natalie learning how to read. Both already avidly consume and make stories. For Natalie, reading independently means having “all the stories in the world, whenever I want them” (she enviously eyes subway riders with reading material), while Alphonse looks forward to sharing the bounty as Natalie’s readaloud audience. But even with help from her teacher, Natalie struggles (“The words looked like prickles or birds’ feet”), and what she can read is a big snooze (“The book was about a cat. The cat could sit”). She’s ready to chuck it all when a remark from Alphonse—whose matter-of-factness makes him a terrific counterpart—opens a pathway back into narrative and print. Straightforward, empathic prose and screen-printed vignettes of biomorphic family life (red Natalie is amphibious-looking; Alphonse resembles a chunky blue rabbit) by Hirst (The Girl With the Parrot on Her Head) reassure while giving an emotionally fraught subject its full, unsentimental due. Natalie and Alphonse would approve. Ages 3–7. [em](Nov.) [/em]