Children’s Book of the Week: A Book
A Book by Mordicai Gerstein
I grabbed this book off the New Book shelf in the library and didn’t really look at it — I worship at the altar of Mordicai Gerstein ever since The Man Who Walked Between the Towers and so as soon as I saw his name I added it to our pile. A few minutes later I noticed Henry nose-deep in A Book, and a few minutes after that, he closed the book, looked up, and said, enthusiastically, “This is a GREAT book!” What more do you need?
It’s a story that actually begins on the title page (“Once in A Book by Mordicai Gerstein, published by Roaring Brook Press, New York, there lived a family of characters”), and is about a family who lives in a book, and the little girl in the family doesn’t know what the story is. Turns out everyone else (including the dog, cat, and goldfish) know their stories, but she doesn’t know hers. So she sets out to find it, traipsing through mysteries, fairy tales, historical fiction, science fiction, and a pirate story to try to find it. This book breaks down the fourth wall pretty early — the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg tells the girl about readers, and the girl looks up and screams, “What’s that huge…blobby thing that something looks like a face?” (it’s you, of course), and finishes with the girl politely asking you to close the book because she’d like to go to sleep.
It’s all told through cartoon speech balloons, which can get a little tedious to read sometimes, but it’s a quick book, and I’ve found both boys really like it because it covers so many genres that they each can have their favorite page (Eli is particularly fond of the pirates, but that’s probably because it was his introduction to the word “poopdeck”).