Mar 2, 2013


Chronicle Books, 2013

In the last post I shared an interview with Jesse Klausmeier, author of the recent release OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK, illustrated by Suzy Lee. 
Center Spread

I hope by now you've had a chance to get your hands and eyes (and hearts) on this uniquely formatted book that nests progressively smaller books inside each other. The dense layering of detail, images, and meaning beg for frequent rereading and close observation. It's a  testament to the physical book, and to literacy.

It's also an invitation to explore, compare, consider, and celebrate the depths and joys of picture books in general, and this one in particular. For example, as each interior book reduces in size, its respective "reader" increases in size: ladybug, to frog, to rabbit, to bear, to giant, who holds the tiniest book of all.

Another pattern spans front end papers to back. The illustrations within transition from minimal color and detail to progressively richer and livelier content and co-mingled color as each book and "reader" interacts with the next.

What I particularly enjoyed was having the giant join the original/actual reader outside the physical limits of the book. From the title to the back cover, the reader becomes a player in the process and the playfulness of this innovative book.
In my mind I can picture the reader sitting in the giant's lap while they share this amazing experience.

I'm a huge fan of picture books of all types, targeted to any age. There are some select few, though, that provide a remarkable experience such as this. They stand before the reader as mirrors, reflecting the shared responsibility of the book and the reader to grasp the magic wand and say the magic words together.

First, if you haven't done so yet, find and OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK. Then take a look at these other titles that share the mirror and magic of picture books.
Chronicle Books, 2011

PRESS HERE, by Herve` Tullet, is as interactive as they come, and utterly intriguing for readers of every age.
Roaring Book Press, 2010
Next, IT'S A BOOK, by Lane Smith, and its gentler boardbook version, IT'S A LITTLE BOOK.
Roaring Book Press, 2011

How hard can it be to understand "It's a Book"? If Gorilla gets it, and Mouse gets it, why can't Jackass? Maybe, when he unplugs for a moment, he will.

Hyperion, 2011

And, finally, YOU'RE FINALLY HERE, by Melanie Watt.
On Goodreads I said this:

This book blends the character strength and second person voice of Don't Let The Pigeon Ride the Bus with the ironic and slightly snarky approach of It's A Book. That's quite a high bar,  but this sassy little rabbit holds its own in such lofty company.

Are there other magic-making books you'd like to recommend?


  1. It's a Book is an absolute household favourite for us, Sandy! Haven't had a chance to grab a copy of Open This Little Book, but from whatever I've been reading of it everywhere, it is a sure winner!
    Loved this post, Sandy :)

  2. Thanks, Richa! Oddly, I've heard adults say that It's a Book is not "appropriate" for the youngest kids, but I do not agree. It seems the publishers heard that, though, because It's A Little Book is definitely aimed for the youngest audience, not just because it is in board book format. OPEN THIS LITTLE BOOK is well-suited to any age, though- you won't be disappointed!

  3. This is a fun post. I will definitely have to check out _Open This Little Book_. In our house, we love _Press Here_, as well as _Beautiful Oops!_ by Barney Saltzberg.

  4. OOH, Beautiful OOPS is a great addition to this list! I read a Publishers Weekly report that when Press Here appeared at a Kidlit Conference in Europe (Bologna Book Fair? Can't quite recall) shortly after its release the crowds gathered around and adults were waiting turns to get their hands on it for a turn.
    So happy you joined the discussion here, Julie. I have no doubt Open This Little Book will join the stack of favorites in your home.


Picture books are as versatile and diverse as the readers who enjoy them. Join me to explore the wacky, wonderful, challenging and changing world of picture books.