Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: What do you want, little friend? by Marianne Dubuc

 I love Marianne Dubuc, and Princeton Architectural Press produces some amazing and unique books, but it always gives me pause when there are no copies of a book in my whole consortium, which is quite large. So I went ahead and bought this one myself, to take a look at it.

It is adorable, but I can see why it isn't more widely owned, as it's rather odd. A kitten runs across the page, stepping on a fly. There is an "ouch!" written on the page, but it's not clear if it's an exclamation from the fly or a comment from the narrator. The rest of the book consists of the kitten trying to coax the (possibly dead) fly to get up and move. Meanwhile, as this drama carries on, another little story is happening as a group of ants quietly remove the kitten's kite. Once the kitten figures out what the fly does want (a kiss) both continue on their way, with the kite flying solo across the back page.

Dubuc's simple and enigmatic style is well-suited to this quirky little board book, and fans of her art will enjoy the story and mull over the possible meanings and the ending, although it is less likely to appeal to babies or toddlers.

Verdict: As much as I enjoy Dubuc, I can't say I'd recommend this for the average library board book collection. It's just a little too odd.

ISBN: 9781616899448; Published 2020 by Princeton Architectural Press; Purchased personally

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