THE CHARACTER IN THE BOOK by Kaethe Zemach

THE CHARACTER IN THE BOOK

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 6

KIRKUS REVIEW

 An anonymous character searches for a plot to flush out his personality, but finds little action within the confines of this book to justify his metafictional acrobatics. The Character, dressed in peppermint-striped socks, vest, and knickers, could be Jack, Hansel, or any other fairy-tale protagonist. He hangs out with monkeys, sings with dolphins, and plays the trombone, until he receives a letter from his aunt inviting him to come visit her book. He spends the rest of the time trying to figure out how to get out of his own book: going backwards doesn't work, nor does going to the top or bottom of the page. He runs, he bikes, he travels underground, until finally he jumps off the corner of the page. The finale is a letter (with photos) apprising readers of the grand time that the Character is having in his aunt's book. Through that conclusion, Zemach (The Beautiful Rat, 1979) makes it clear that any identity-forming adventures the Character might have are going to occur beyond their view. The Character's self-awareness is funny- -but only until readers find out that's all he has, and that they've been on a literary wild-goose chase. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 28th, 1998
ISBN: 0-06-205060-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1997




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