The short stories in this picture book rely heavily on accompanying art to fill in the spaces between beginnings and ends.
Dotlich’s book begins with the statement that “For every STORY there is a BEGINNING and an END, but what happens IN BETWEEN makes ALL the DIFFERENCE.” Subsequent pages follow a little girl’s brief adventures. Each begins, “One day…” and introduces a scenario, then concludes with “The End.” In between opening and closing lines, Koehler’s art provides visual narrative content for the meat of the story. For example, the first story reads: “One Day…I WENT TO SCHOOL. I CAME HOME. The End.” Accompanying illustrations show the girl playing with a cat during her walk to school, then racing in late to school, then making a mess in science class, then walking dejectedly home, then cheering up at the sight of an ice cream truck, then feeling sad when her ice cream falls on the ground, and then feeling happy again because she apparently picked up the ice cream and plopped it back on the cone. Perhaps the book’s conceit is supposed to inspire children to use words to “create their own middles” (as the dedication page reads), but describing the action of a picture that does just this seems quite a different task than imagining a middle by oneself.
A well-intentioned conceit that risks undoing itself. (Picture book. 5-8)