THIS BOOK by Kathryn Madeline Allen


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 1 - 3
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It’s baby’s first metafiction!

Brief introductions to a range of concepts culminate in an enthusiastic shoutout to “readers like you!” Relentlessly enthusiastic, this self-aware book charges through, informing readers about its many snippets of information. Peppy rhyming couplets exclaim that “THIS BOOK has shapes like circles and squares. / And fruit like bananas and apples and pears.” It’s a perky meter, so an abrupt alteration to the rhyme scheme on the last page sounds unexpectedly jarring. Like its narrative, the cartoon illustrations are also resolutely cheery, drawn with brilliant candy-colored hues and a touch of kawaii-like cuteness. Wide, round eyes and enormous grins personify the gamut of concepts, from the “BIG and small” kittens to the vivid paint splotches. A dizzying final page, with all the concepts clustered together in party hats to triumphantly celebrate the book’s readers, epitomizes both its most and least successful elements. There’s an awful lot of energy and heart, but its intent is never completely clear. Its metafictive theme is likely too sophisticated for the intended audience, and with only a smattering of concepts superficially discussed, it’s less a concept book and more a book about concept books.

While its conceit isn’t entirely successful, this jaunty book brims with positivity, and who can’t use a little more cheer? (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-8075-7881-0
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Whitman
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2018


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