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THE BEST BOOK TO READ by Debbie Bertram


by Debbie Bertram & Susan Bloom & illustrated by Michael Garland

Pub Date: June 24th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-375-84702-8
Publisher: Random House

In Bertram and Bloom’s rhymed tale, a librarian introduces a troop of youngsters to books on all sorts of subjects—exploration, science, cooking, pets—that the illustrations interpret by transporting a couple of youngsters into a representative scene. The librarian holds up a cookbook by Martha Muffin on the left-hand page; the full-bleed image on the facing page depicts three of the kids baking a cake, and so on. Garland’s distinctive artwork is well known by now, with its combination of soft and sharp elements, its cutout feel and subtle warping. The illustrations’ good cheer complements the feel-good message well, although the product-placement of his books irks, even if intended as tongue-in-cheek. The uneven text, however, hurts the most, some of it rolling along, some of it an off-beat mouthful: “Here’s a book about being a trainer. / ‘Sit!’ ‘Stay!’ and ‘Play dead!’ / ‘Do not jump on Mom’s bed!’ / Training dogs will become a no-brainer.” This well-intentioned celebration of reading is not, alas, the best book for the job. (Picture book. 3-7)