A broken vase, an eyewitness, and a cast of improbable suspects lead to one surprise ending in this celebration of the whopper.
Cover and title-page art of a cracked vase set the scene for this airy detective tale, as the title question, “Who broke the vase?” looms large on the opening page. A dog appears on the next spread, with the narrator explaining it was an elephant. Wait—no, a mouse. Or maybe a sheep knitting mittens. With each possibility, an image of the suspect appears. But readers soon realize the small canine (yes, the one holding the ball) is telling fibs. After unapologetically admitting to it, the pup asks to play again. Without hesitation, the grown-up dog the puppy’s been talking to agrees—and then breaks something too. It’s déjà vu when the adult tells tall tales, showing the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Turner’s characters, done in silhouette with expressive eyes on primary-color backgrounds, are appealing, and his compositions and text design are engaging. Unfortunately, his minimal graphic style does not always convey clarity, as readers must sort through what’s imaginary and what isn’t, misguided assumptions, and ultimately the morality of the story’s humor.
An interesting debut, one that may instigate discussion, emotion, and, yes, even laughs. (Picture book. 4-8)