Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE BORING BOOK by Shinsuke  Yoshitake Kirkus Star


by Shinsuke Yoshitake ; illustrated by Shinsuke Yoshitake

Pub Date: Aug. 6th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4521-7456-3
Publisher: Chronicle Books

The oft-heard childhood phrase “I’m bored” becomes the jumping-off point for this philosophical picture book.

There is nothing to entertain or distract this child today, and so the protagonist becomes inquisitive about boredom. What does it mean exactly? Does everyone experience it? Even animals? Is life a continual dichotomy between fun and boring? Is boredom a matter of perspective? As the child demonstrates with bemusement, sometimes wandering through such answerless wonderings can itself be the antidote to boredom. Each page offers a thought experiment examining the nature of boredom sure to provoke curiosity and insight. This English translation of a book originally published in Japan in 2017 makes reference to Japanese culture through the illustrations; school children wear traditional uniforms, and adults sit cross-legged at tables low to the ground. All characters have the same paper-white skin, simple facial features, and brown or gray hair; the repetition of hairstyles, clothing, and facial expressions on the people emphasizes a sameness that is characteristic of boredom, yet even so, the illustrations are interesting and evocative. Adults and children will find this boring book a wonderful resource for sparking conversation. It’s a terrific reminder for readers of all ages that boredom is always optional.

A perfectly mild unpacking of the nuances and subtleties of boredom.

(Picture book. 6-10)