Innovative design meets a classic lost-and-found story in this remarkable Japanese import.
The slipcased book initially seems like a codex bound on the right. The first scene shows a child at a door with text reading “knock! knock! / I’m home!” When opened to the first double-page spread, the recto shows the girl with her mother, both wearing concerned expressions, and the text reads “My bear….” The facing verso shows the girl looking out the window: “Is my bear there?” Next, instead of turning pages right to left, a large section of pages on the verso flips up, revealing the girl in her apartment on the verso below (now facing the initial recto “My bear…” page). Pages then continue unfolding to the right and up, to the left and up, and so on, as the girl climbs flights of stairs in search of her bear, knocking on neighbors’ doors in black-and-white scenes. Brightly colored, whimsical interiors appear behind each neighbor’s door, but the bear is missing until she reaches the rooftop and spies a bird flying with it. The bird returns it at the topmost verso, and remaining pages turn like a gatefold page to the left, creating a third facing page and initiating an eight-page downward, unfurling descent as she joyously returns home to cuddle in bed with her bear. Though its format and construction make it a challenge for library circulation, its playful stretching of the boundaries makes it a must for anyone interested in the apparently infinite possibilities of the physical book.
A wonder. (Novelty. 5-8)