cover image One Day, the End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-Ever Stories

One Day, the End: Short, Very Short, Shorter-than-Ever Stories

Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illus. by Fred Koehler. Boyds Mills, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62091-451-9

“For every story there is a beginning and an end,” Dotlich (All Aboard!) writes, “but what happens in between makes all the difference.” She and Koehler (How to Cheer Up Dad) prove this premise nine different ways in ultra-brief stories that begin with “One day,” conclude with “The End,” and follow the energetic, inquisitive storyteller in between. Koehler builds each story around an interaction between the giant typography and the plot, so that a very simple recounting (“One day... I went to school. I came home. The End.”) becomes far sillier and involved. The girl chases her cat around the word “went”; “school” gets splattered with pink goo from a chemistry lab; and “came” appears as the sprinkles-covered lettering on an ice-cream truck that holds the reward for a long day. The action can be difficult to track, and the punch lines don’t always hit their marks, but Koehler’s drawings have an easygoing sense of whimsy as they highlight just how much can happen in the briefest of stories. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. Illustrator’s agent: Tracey Adams, Adams Literary. (Oct.)