WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? by Olivier Tallec


A Tell-Your-Own-Tale Book
illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8
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Split pages work comical twists on the clothes and actions of a cast of (mostly) animals.

Tallec (Who Was That?, 2018, etc.) invites viewers to giggle at silly headwear, flip to pair it with a character and a plot element, and then do something at least tangentially related such as sing a favorite song or, more often, answer a personal question: “Everywhere we go, / Carter puts on funny clothes. / What’s something new you want to try?” The questions range from innocuous (“What superpower do you wish you had?”) to provocative: “What sneaky things did you do today?”; “Do you have any secrets?” Except for brown-skinned Marc and an unnamed white cheerleader, the dozen two-sided cartoon figures posing on the fronts and backs of the central segments are grave- or annoyed-looking animals with anthropomorphic bodies clad in a variety of children’s wear, from saggy swimming trunks to overalls. Visually, the permutations are vastly amusing. A grumpy-looking green duck might wear a backward baseball cap while sitting on the shoulders of a much-smaller, stressed-looking red creature clad only in a bow tie and tighty whities. “At the end of every book, / we feel a little sad,” the outing concludes. “What should we do next?” More than a few readers will be tempted to flip back in search of further juxtapositions and scenarios.

Mix-and-match storysmithing, more subtle and therefore more evergreen than it seems at first glance. (Novelty picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4521-7317-7
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Chronicle
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019


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