Children are ready for philosophy at a very young age: “What is real?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit, after all.
This beautiful and mysterious volume is not quite a graphic novel, although its black, white and gray pictures fill the pages and hint of Edward Gorey. There are an epigraph and a coda, which are also mysterious, asserting that “Truth and Lies are one.” A marble figure of a little girl, barefoot, looking up from the open book in her lap, sits on a plinth carved with her name, Faith. But one day she speaks, and the carpet—a tiger skin—answers her. She wants to move, to stretch, to finish her book, but the Carpet tells her that she is a statue, a work of art. He tells Faith that she might be under a magic spell; he tells her the shocking story of how he became a rug and how His Grace used to come to this room and read to the statue. He spins many tales, and then he says that everything he speaks is a lie. His Grace dies, and Faith jumps down from her plinth, flying off in the night on her tiger carpet. The house is filled with another family, and the youngest child finds the shut stone book, which one day opens in her hands. Stories—truth and lies—spin around each other, thick as the ornamentation that fills every page.
Fabulous (as in fablelike), this will tug relentlessly on the mind and heart of any child ready to read it. (Fable. 8-12)