This Book Is Spineless
This Book Is Spineless
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Annotation: A wary and unadventurous book uses its different parts, such as the jacket, gutters, and endpapers, to get a sense of what kind of story it might be--and soon, the reader and the book become friends as they navigate the book together.
Catalog Number: #181577
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Brereton, Alice,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
New Title: Yes
ISBN: 1-624-14658-9
ISBN 13: 978-1-624-14658-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2018021035
Dimensions: 24 x 26 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
The story begins on the front endpapers with the questions "What's going on?" and "Can someone please turn on the lights?" Black pages then fade to gray in the first pages—evidently the light has been turned on.The book (who also happens to be the narrator) then thanks readers because, it says, "I'm afraid of the dark." It then goes on to reveal that it's scared of most things because it's "spineless" and has "absolutely no sense of adventure." The book/narrator admits that it doesn't like stories (because stories can be "scary"). The following pages are filled with tales that the book is terrified of: the sound of a ghost story, in which the ghosts wail and clank their chains; the sight of a mystery's "pitch-black pathways and slinky shadows" (though it wonders whodunit); the "FEEL" of a space adventure, with "rumbling rockets and woozy weightlessness" (but the stars are nice); the "SMELL"of a "whiffy wolverine or stinky skunk" in a nature story (maybe it could manage a bunny); or even the salty "TASTE" of a pirate story set upon the open seas. Leslie's witty, fast-paced narrative and Brereton's digital paintings work well together to create a self-referential narrative that introduces young readers to different literary genres, compositions cleverly including those story elements the book is not scared of, till by the end it seems to have grown a spine—maybe.A playful, interactive story that will urge readers to be brave and turn the page. (Picture book. 3-6)
Publishers Weekly
A fearful book narrates this interactive collaboration. The text asserts that the book is -a real scaredy-pants- who doesn-t -even want to hear about an adventure,- let alone take part in one. But with the reader present for moral support, the volume builds the courage to brave the next spread, facing a new challenge with each page turn. Brereton-s style shifts from scene to scene as each introduces an approachably scary situation for young readers to face (a Rorschach blot, chain-draped ghosts, a noir-tinged mystery, and more). In-text opportunities to engage listeners feature each of the five senses, and illustrations skillfully depict the ways fear affects each. (-Do you feel something? I-m a bit dizzy- the sociable book says about a space adventure.) Clever illustration effects (the odor from a -whiffy wolverine or stinky skunk- makes the pages appear to curl) and the anxious book-as-character combine to create a winning story about handling the unknown and asking for help. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 13 Leslie explores the theme of facing one's fears from the perspective of a cowardly book that is afraid of its own contents. The story spans several genres, from those where readers might reasonably encounter danger, such as ghost stories, mysteries, and space adventures, to more laughable concerns, such as encountering bad smells and dirt in a nature story. Each scene prompts kids to imagine themselves within the story using a different sense, such as hearing the clanking of chains and wailing of ghosts or feeling the speed of a rocket ship in flight. Ultimately the narrator realizes that by facing fears through stories, we become braver and better-equipped to face the next adventure. The digital artwork encompasses an array of styles that vary with the different genres, ranging from the genuinely frightening Rorschach-like monster to the humorous fairy-tale nature scene in which a bear running from a fearsome skunk. The illustrations begin quite dark and become more colorful as the narrator gathers courage, culminating with a spread mirroring the first monstrous illustration, but this time rendered in bright colors and featuring characters and themes seen throughout the book. VERDICT An engaging adventure for early elementary readers. Kelly Topita, Anne Arundel County Public Library, MD
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* In this worthy descendant of Jon Stone's classic Monster at the End of this Book, a pusillanimous picture book entreats readers to stop turning its pages least, at first. It opens with one of the finest page turns ever as the nervous narrator's "In fact, I'm on edge whenever you turn a page" precedes a huge, authentically scream-­inducing, swirly black monster skull. Subsequent scenes feature ghosts floating through a library, a detective inspecting a cluttered alley for clues, woodland creatures frantically fleeing a skunk, a very large and toothy shark with a pirate ship in the background. At last, swirling waters ebb away to white with abstract splashes of color. In a particularly subtle exercise, there are appeals made throughout to the senses and their responses: "Do you HEAR something?" "Do you SMELL something? My pages are starting to curl." The increasingly less negative monologue culminates in an admission that "I do feel a dash more daring" and, following a mash-up of previously seen images in exuberantly spattered polychrome, a courageous, "Want to do that again?" Who could refuse? A touch of anxiety at the end ("Can you leave a light on for me?") notwithstanding, here's one book that has developed a figurative spine to go with its literal one. Can hesitant readers help but follow? An ingenious, interactive invitation into realms of story and ways of reading.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (2/1/19)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (3/1/19)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

With suspense and humor, this wary and unadventurous book uses the five senses to try and figure out what kind of story might be on its pages. Does it hear spooky wails from a ghost story? Can it see a mysterious something peeking around a corner? Is that the dizzy feeling of zero gravity it senses? Might that be the stinky smell of animals in nature it detects? Could it be tasting the saltiness of a story on the high seas? The reader and book navigate the book's contents together, becoming friends as the book becomes braver with every page turn. This multilayered book incorporates the five senses, multiple literary genres, and various book parts, with the relationship between book and reader bringing everything together.

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