cover image The Bored Book

The Bored Book

David Michael Slater, illus. by Doug Keith. Simply Read (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (36p) ISBN 978-1-897476-19-2

Slater (Cheese Louise!) wordless picture book has a message%E2%80%94but what is it? In a series of gray penciled spreads, a grandfather distracts a pair of fractious grandchildren by showing them the secret door to his attic. There they discover a stack of copies of The Bored Book, whose pages unfold like an elaborate, outsize map. (When they open the book, the pages burst into color, and so do their surroundings.) Brother and sister dive into the panels, but find only danger; they're greeted by a yeti with terrifying teeth, pirates with glistening lips and shining knives%E2%80%94even a peaceful medieval landscape turns out to contain a dragon. Retreating with relief to their grandfather's library, the siblings find refuge in Treasure Island and the stories of King Arthur. The children spend a lot of time yelling and grimacing, and the grandfather remains opaque. Keith (Something Special) is at his best when portraying evildoers. Slater aims to celebrate books, but readers may conclude that reading is good only because it's a whole lot safer than exploring. Ages 5%E2%80%94up. (Oct.)