A metafictive text introduces a bevy of exciting characters.
The title page indicates the tension between the competing narratives suggested by the book’s title since it includes four scratched-out, but legible, titles above the main one. The book proper begins with a declaration from a brown-haired, white child that the story is great “Because it’s all about me.” As pages turn, however, Salty Pete the pirate, a dinosaur, an extraterrestrial named Yurxl, and Sir Knightly astride a horse all enter the story and jockey for position in asserting their own stories. The child who began the story is not amused! Increasingly crowded images introduce Vikings, robots, and zombies to the story. (All the human characters are white.) Ultimately, there’s room for all when the text resolves with the statement that this is a story about when the child “met a bunch of crazy new friends,” but it’s hard not to feel as though both Flaherty and the narrator are caving in under the pressure. Cartoon-style digital art matches the rising excitement of the text as the pages progress and then depicts the final, calm scene in silhouette. This is a well-worn conceit in contemporary picture books, and it delivers an anticlimactic conclusion after so much buildup.
It seems like the question isn’t “whose story is it?” at book’s end, but what other stories might have arisen through these characters? (Picture book. 4-6)