The Norwegian illustrator of My Father’s Arms Are a Boat (2013) pokes a pencil-sized hole through both covers and all 64 pages of this outing—but then doesn’t do much with it.
In very plain, nearly wordless line drawings with pale monochromatic highlights, Torseter depicts a cartoon figure (a lanky creature with a face like a hippo) who spots the hole in the wall of his new apartment. He chases it as it “moves” through various rooms and then plunks it in a box. He proceeds to “carry” it through a long sequence of city scenes—it does duty as sign lettering, wheels, eyes, lights and other items—to a laboratory, where it’s shoved into a drawer. The figure then walks obliviously home as the hole follows through the sky and ends up back in its original position on the apartment wall. Though the hole may take a moment to spot in some scenes, it is too small to have any significant visual impact. Nor, in contrast to the one in Hervé Tullet’s The Book with a Hole (2011) and other similarly pierced titles, is it placed or decorated in ways that will spark imaginative play or lead viewers to fresh considerations of their own surroundings.
A one-trick pony—and the trick’s not all that great. (Picture book. 4-6)