MOST OF THE BETTER NATURAL THINGS IN THE WORLD by Dave Eggers
Kirkus Star

MOST OF THE BETTER NATURAL THINGS IN THE WORLD

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

An artistic envisioning of a list poem, of sorts, about place.

With the exception of two double-page spreads reading “CLOUD FOREST” and “ALPINE LAKE,” Eggers’ text consists of single words on successive spreads, each one naming a geographic feature. Chang’s lush illustrations place a white, bipedal tiger in each setting, a yellow chair lashed to its back as it travels left to right with the page turns. There’s a dreamlike quality to the scenes as the intrepid tiger traverses, among other places, a gorge, a fjord, an atoll, an estuary, and a lagoon. At the center of the book, a dramatic double-gatefold spread presents (what else?) a “VISTA.” But where is the tiger going? And what is the chair’s purpose? Readers’ interest will be sustained by these looming questions and by deft shifts of visual perspective offered in the illustrations. The reward is an instance of clever wordplay in a concluding spread that shows the tiger arriving at a “TAIGA” (which, along with the other geographic terms, is defined in a backmatter glossary). Amid this “swampy forest...found in the northern parts of the globe,” a tiger family sits around a table set for a meal, with an empty place awaiting the tiger who’s traveled so far.

Repeated perusals will have readers proclaiming it’s grrrrr-eat. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4521-6282-9
Page count: 52pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2019




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