A light-skinned child with a zigzag thatch of brown hair and enormous spectacles searches for a quiet place to read.
It’s not so easy. Birds lean down from the tree he has sat beneath to overshare. “Oooh, I loved that book!” says one. “Me too! Can you believe her best friend turned out to be a robot?” says another. And so it goes. Child gets a book; child finds a place to read uninterrupted. Alas, the animals continue to harass the child with comments that ruin each new story chosen. Page after page, the child is hounded by animals who need to share what happens next as the child repeatedly begs them to “LET ME FINISH!” The tale turns meta as the child seems to enter the book through an apparent rip in the paper forest. Observant readers will notice that the child is fleeing unwanted commentary by climbing through the physical book, though the logical superstructure is hard to discern. A significant misstep occurs when the protagonist swims with the precious book tucked under one arm with no consequences to its physical structure. The retro cartoonish art (which looks like a combination of colored pencil and digital art) in a palette of tans, mustards, and olive green, with bright splashes of pinks, purples, and teal, lends a pleasingly silly air to the flora and fauna.
By the end, the relationship of tale to meta-tale is so unclear that readers may be left scratching their heads. (Picture book. 5-8)