Beyond just breaking the fourth wall, this clever account of a lobster at a dinner party directly involves readers in the choice of outcome.
Well-mannered lobster Lenny is “delighted” to receive an invitation to a fancy dinner party, and he does every proper thing: dons his hat, grooms his claws and mustache, and arrives with gifts and flowers. The other guests are just as happy to see him, but alert readers will understand what is meant by “In fact, they seemed a little too excited….” The truth is revealed via several visual clues, including one party guest actually drooling and a chef with a tray full of claw crackers; one young girl sits with her back to the door, arms folded, and a grumpy look on her face. Lenny appears clueless that people would be so rude as to eat him. Then, it’s time for readers to choose: Should Lenny stay? Madcap adventures ensue no matter the choice, and the potentially unhappy conclusion—with Lenny on a plate—is lightened, as readers are directed to go back to the beginning and start again. In both scenarios, “little Imogen,” the grumpy girl from the beginning, comes to the rescue. The limited palette of lobster reds and ocean blues outlined in scratchy black suits the wry, understated tone, though child readers familiar with the crustacean will note that bright-red Lenny has been cooked from the very beginning.
Diverting. (Picture book. 5-8)