Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Book That Eats People, John Perry

The Teaser: Like the title says, this is a book that eats people. So watch out or you could be the next victim. Do you want your bones to clatter across the floor like wooden blocks, or to be gobbled up starting with your pink, polished toenails, have YOU ever heard a book burp? Part cautionary tale, part treatise on the correct way to treat books, The Book That Eats People is the perfect amount of scary mixed with a touch of funny for a completely entertaining book.

What Stands Out: This book is my favorite read aloud book for class visits. It has cult followings at the two elementary schools where I routinely do outreach and kids always stop me in the hallway to ask me if I've brought it. Mark Fearing's collage and photoshop illustrations are top notch and fit the book perfectly; there are enough Easter eggs that you can find something new almost every time you flip through the book which means that you as the reader never get bored. It also lends itself to dramatic readings very, very well. 

What Didn't Work: This is such a perfect read aloud or group book that I can't imagine a single child reading it alone. So much of its appeal is the mob mentality or it, each kid's reaction building on top of the other children's. If read to too small of a group it would either fall completely flat or be too scary.

Anything Extra Special?: In addition to being a wonderfully illustrated, perfectly frightening book, it also teaches some subtle lessons about how to properly handle books. No one wants to scare kids into respecting books by telling them that the book will eat them if they don't, but I can't tell you the number of times I've seen kids wipe off their hands or quickly check their pockets or desks for food before asking if they can handle it.

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