THE END (ALMOST) by Jim Benton


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 3 - 7
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An unimpressive addition to the plethora of metafictive picture books flooding the market.

The narrator opens this book by introducing Donut, a blue bear in sneakers. He’s rendered in a bold-lined, minimalist style and placed on a plain butter-yellow background. On the next page, after Donut burps, the narrator claims the story is over. At this point, it quickly becomes apparent that Donut and the narrator can communicate (Donut’s speech looks to be hand-lettered in dialogue bubbles, distinguishing it from the typeset narration). Donut does not want his story to end, and so begins a tedious back and forth between the two characters as the narrator attempts to convince Donut that the story is indeed over. Donut, in his turn, tries excuses, disguises and a tantrum—none of which is particularly clever—to augment his story, finally achieving success only to be thwarted when the book runs out of pages. The story ends with the narrator suggesting a reread, which Donut joyously encourages, but it may leave readers wondering why they would want to spend even more time with such an uninspired book.

This story lacks the cleverness and originality that make a metafictive picture book successful, though it could be useful as a creative-writing prompt with older children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 25th, 2014
ISBN: 978-0-545-17731-3
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013


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