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A STORY WITH PICTURES by Barbara Kanninen


by Barbara Kanninen & illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2049-0
Publisher: Holiday House

What would happen if an artist were charged with illustrating an author’s picture book, but without a manuscript to work with? In this confusing portrayal of that hypothetical situation, the illustrator makes the author a character in the story, depicting her in colorful acrylics as an Olive Oyl-ish personage, a padded stick figure with a carrot-like nose. The author, now trapped within the pages, becomes the rather annoyingly high-strung narrator, fretting as she witnesses what the illustrator is doing to her story: “She painted a duck. There are no ducks in this story. I never write about ducks.” In the end, the author comes to realize that her original (lost) manuscript is much more boring than the illustrator’s new creation that adorns her in comfortable new slippers and lets her fight dragons and travel to outer space. Unfortunately, multiple fonts at various angles, clunky photo-collage elements and a hard-to-track narrative render this offering more an awkward jumble than a playful, perspective-tweaking exploration of the dynamic bookmaking process. (Picture book. 7-9)