This unusual board book is a visual ode to both the rectangular and things that open and close.
In these nearly wordless pages, Jullien presents the gaping mouth of a monster, an aerial view of a tennis court, and the keyboard of a piano, to name a few, in droll cartoons employing thick, black lines. The ideas here range from the clever (the image of a youngster reading inside a tent encourages readers to stand up the book as if it were a tent) to the everyday and banal (the inside of a toolbox), often encouraging youngsters to change the orientation of the book. Very young children, who are the core board-book readers, may appreciate the items that are the most identifiable, particularly the open refrigerator and butterfly. The open laptop, complete with keyboard, may prove a dated reference to tablet-wielding toddlers. A double gatefold (the only one) opens up to a kid reading a book titled This Is a Book, but there is no setup for this revelation. The page turn that reveals white buttocks (with the crack running down the gutter) will prompt a few giggles once it’s parsed. While Jullien’s art is delightful, it is a shame he couldn’t diversify the subjects in these scenes; few, if any, of the people depicted are people of color.
A decidedly mixed bag of ideas that does not quite come together. (Board book. 3-5)