A paean to playfulness and following one’s own vision as essential to creativity.
In this follow-up to Mervin the Sloth Is About to Do the Best Thing in the World (2016), the eponymous red panda attempts to write a story. A bevy of animals (who’ll be familiar to readers of the prior title) helpfully offer ideas, but their onslaught of input ends up paralyzing poor Amy rather than inspiring her. Chan’s crowded, cartoon-style illustrations contribute to the depiction of this less-than-supportive environment as the repeated main text (the words of the title) is overwhelmed by a mounting crowd of animals with speech-balloon suggestions while Amy cowers to the side. Beside her is calm and quiet Mervin, who ultimately offers a playful solution to the conundrum Amy faces: in a metafictive turn, after a gazelle bumps loose the letter O from the word “world,” he tosses it about. Distraught Amy is initially oblivious to his playful gestures, but when she catches on she’s eager to join him in a “LETTER FIGHT!!!” In perhaps an underwhelming payoff on the title’s promise, their fun inspires Amy to retrieve some of the fallen letters and write “Amy and Mervin had a fun day” as her “best story in the world.”
A story that may encourage readers to be writers, too. (Picture book. 5-8)