Adding to a growing genre, this picture book shouts—no, hollers at the top of its lungs—praise to the codex.
The very title, along with the bold primary colors and enormous (fake) prize medal on the cover, will be an opportunity for young children to gleefully answer the question, “What book are you reading?” The sparse, large-print text begins with a double-page spread that says on the verso, “Take the first step,” and on the recto, “Turn the first page.” The pictures quickly and cleverly move from depicting relatively realistic reading nooks to the places readers go in their imaginations. Both the crazy-quilt pattern of the endpapers and the interior pages are filled with brightly colored, geometric creatures and people actively engaged in activities such as sky diving, enjoying amusement-park rides, trekking across deserts and spelunking. In addition to the gently rhythmic near-rhymes that encourage readers to plunge themselves into books, the other common thread through the kaleidoscope of pulsating scenes is the stylized image of a child (probably a girl), always colored red, always with ponytails, always clutching her book. Although there is a slight calming toward the end, excitement reigns, right up to the gently mind-bending metafictive moment that concludes the book.
To quote one of many exuberant, action-packed spreads: “Enjoy the ride!” (Picture book. 4-8)