cover image A Delicious Story

A Delicious Story

Barney Saltzberg. Hippo Park, $18.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-6626-4016-2

A small blue mouse walks onto an opening page of this picture book looking to find the volume’s story. Instead, it discovers a larger gray mouse wearing a blissful expression. When pressed, the second mouse acknowledges that the book once housed a telling with pictures—even “a beginning, a middle, and an end”—and it eventually confesses to having eaten the tale. The story-consuming rodent offers to make amends, even though conjuring up a replacement puts on the pressure: “How do you expect me to make up a story while you watch?” Minimally detailed digital ink line drawings with soft washes of fill-in color appear against the blank background of the storyless pages, but Saltzberg (We Are Expecting You!) gets lots of mileage from his characters’ expressive argy-bargy. The big mouse eventually recycles the book’s opening incident into a new tale, and throws in a friendly green dragon as an added surprise, resulting in a light, cartooned meta-comedy combined with an object lesson in thinking on one’s feet. Ages 3–6. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (June)