cover image The Best Book in the World!

The Best Book in the World!

Rilla Alexander. Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-909263-30-7

Designer/illustrator Alexander sets expectations high with an eye-catching cover and a title that promises a lot. Said title doesn’t actually have much to do with the content of her story, though, an ode to the power of books. While there isn’t much to the storyline—it follows a book-loving girl on the adventures reading takes her—Alexander’s artwork lives up to the hyperbole of the title. Colored in bold primary reds, yellows, and blues, her blocky, pared-down images have the feel of linoprints (and call to mind Dan Yaccarino’s work in Doug Unplugged). “Read along. Read aloud. Or in your head,” writes Alexander as she shows the pigtailed girl with her nose buried in a book while hitching rides on a crowded city and a rolling travel bag. From there, the girl goes skydiving, crosses a sunbaked desert (where, in addition to being an immersive read, her book provides helpful shade), and ventures into the belly of a sleeping dragon, before retiring to bed. The somewhat generic, rah-rah prose (“Page by page you’re carried away”) pales next to the imagination evident in the artwork. Ages 3–7. [em](July) [/em]