Clever new metafiction from the prolific French artist (Press Here, 2011, etc.).
With a seeming nod to Pirandello’s absurdist early-20th-century play Six Characters in Search of an Author, Tullet introduces a literally sketchy cast, utterly discombobulated at having been prematurely discovered. “There are people here... / And they’ve opened OUR BOOK!” The characters (pink pig, wand-toting fairy, orange dog, green snake, amorphous stick figure and red monster) confer over how best to entertain the “very sweet” readers who’ve suddenly materialized. First they produce “a bit of background color” (a consciously banal tropical sunset). Concurring that they need a story and, ergo, an author, they remember that they know one! The pack descends upon Tullet. (Wryly, he plays himself, in photographed headshots atop a crayoned blue shirt.) Contrasting with the preceding slapdash, mixed-media tumult, the author’s orderly studio (replete with tools of his trade) is rendered in perspective, in thick black line. Pressured by his unruly creations, he supplies a sappy eight-page vignette to get them to clear out. Their negative critique provokes him to order them off (while conspiratorially enlisting readers to “Press HERE, please?” to turn off the desk lamp).
The thick, black, paper-over-board cover suggests a sketchbook; in the adeptly controlled chaos within, Tullet outlines the elements of a good story while supplying kids with plenty of inspiration to create their own. (Picture book. 4-8)