Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Picture Book Review: Have You Seen This Book? by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Tom Booth (2021)

Quick Booktalk

A cartoonish young boy addresses the reader with a description of his missing book that includes all the special details that make the book his own. 

About the Illustrations 

The pictures in this book feature speech bubbles filled with lengthy paragraphs of text and images of the boy's book that illustrate the clues he has given to help identify it. These pictures feel very hectic and busy, a style which conveys the boy's enthusiasm for his favorite book, but also makes it a little hard to share with a group of more than a few kids at a time. The pictures are very bold and colorful and the cover is very eye-catching. 

Story Time Possibilities

This is definitely a book best read to an elementary school aged group. It's sure to find popularity among librarians who either work in or regularly visit schools because it provides a lot of opportunities to talk about a love of reading, the proper treatment of books, and the fun of sharing what we read with others.  There is a lot of text, but because it's written as dialogue addressing the reader, the story doesn't get bogged down. Kids who have grown up on Elephant and Piggie will be familiar with the format, which will make the book feel comfortable to them. 

Readers Advisory

My chief problem with this story is that it promotes basically defacing a book. I would never allow my kids to write in, add pages to, remove pages from, place stickers on, stick objects in, or tape notes to the pages of any book we own. On every page, as the boy in the story revealed what he has done to his book to make it his own, I just cringed. Librarians who deal with problems of kids being too rough on books will undoubtedly feel the same. I understand the sentiment that books are for use, and that a book is often beaten up if it's been well loved. But the idea of just completely altering a book to make it what the child wants it to be rubbed me entirely the wrong way. I realize there are parents out there who would have no problem with this, but for our family, it's a no go. 

I was also puzzled, as was Kirkus, about the fact that the book, which has been purportedly missing, just suddenly turns up on the last page as though it wasn't actually lost after all. This was a letdown to this would-be mystery and will be downright confusing to a lot of child readers.


I received a finished copy of Have You Seen This Book? from Penguin Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. 

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