About This Book:
The life of a book isn’t easy, especially when people judge you by your cover (not every book can be adorned with sparkly unicorns!). And this narrator should know—it’s the book itself, and it has a lot of opinions. It gets irritated when readers bend its pages back, and it finds authors quiteannoying. But it does have a story to tell. Through witty direct address and charming illustrations, readers meet a book that has never been read, with a cover the boring color of a school lunch table and pages so dry they give bookworms indigestion. But what happens when this book meets you, a curious reader? Multitalented author Richard Ayoade and award-winning illustrator Tor Freeman bring to life a hilariously subversive take on the nature of books and reading, with a heartening theme of finding the courage to tell our own stories. Readers of all ages will be delighted by the myriad bookish references and laughs on every page.
*Review Contributed By Mark Buxton, Staff Reviewer*
When is a book a book?
Okay, we have a book narrating a book, about a book! This fact should prepare you for a witty, amusing story of a book hiding in an old, “fusty-smelling” library that no one has ever read. To be honest, the book and you make up the story as the plot moves along. That’s right, the book decides YOU, the reader, will be a main character! The book has confidence issues and is quite content to never be read. I might compare his feelings to a person who avoids doing something out of fear of failing or disappointing someone. In the end, the plot seems to tell the story of a book becoming a book.
The story is enhanced by pictures, diagrams, and other graphics throughout the book. I’ve never seen fun displayed as an equation, pie chart, bar graph, or line graph. At one point, the plot includes a comic summarizing the various parts of writing a drama including examples featuring a man, his sandwich, and an alligator. There are illustrations depicting the problems with invisibility and different ways to treat books well. A map of the library is accompanied by a myriad of fonts in various sizes that share the many, many sections of books readers can find there.
The book is probably most appropriate for upper-elementary or middle-grade readers due to the offbeat humor. The book has unexpected views of the world due to its point of view as a book. You may have heard the question “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it make a sound?” If a book is never read, is it a book? What is it? Book says they’re living things, not just objects as YOU say. The book creates a new term called bookism, instead of racism, for people who prejudge them or think of books as only objects.
What didn’t work as well:
I appreciate new ways of looking at the world and the humor it creates. The story meanders a bit and it may not seem to have a point or a preplanned direction. It’s all part of the author’s design for the book. However, some young readers may not be attracted to this style and they may find it just plain strange. It works for me though.
The Final Verdict:
This is a humorous, fast-paced story of a book contentedly hiding in the library that eventually discovers a new image. It will appeal to young readers with a tolerance for the unusual and a keen sense of humor. I recommend you give it a shot, especially if you’re in need of a good, quick laugh.