cover image The Book That Eats People

The Book That Eats People

John Perry, , illus. by Mark Fearing. . Tricycle, $15.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-58246-268-4

From the grim warning on the first page (“CAUTION! This is a book that eats people”) to the advice at the end (“Never read this book with syrupy fingers. Never read it with cookies in your pocket. Never turn your back on it”), Perry's debut soldiers on with a Lemony Snicket–like straight face. The histories of the book's previous victims are given in gory detail (“Sammy pulled as hard as he could, but the book ate him. Then it coughed up his bones and they clattered across the floor like wooden blocks”). Fearing draws the book-within-a-book with blood-red covers, heavy-lidded eyes and a mouthful of fangs, packing his collage spreads with torn and crumpled papers (which take on an especially gruesome vibe in this context). Perry also covers the book's perverse appetites (“if you hear a sound like an octopus in a tub of yogurt, that's the book's empty stomach”), tactics (it “traded covers” with a book called All About Dolphins , to the delight of one young Victoria Glassford) and eventual (if ineffectual) incarceration. It's all irresistible. Read it. Carefully. All ages. (Oct.)