Just out in the US from French author Fani Marceau is a new favorite picture book that I expect will become a permanent fixture on many kids’ bookshelves: In This Book. It features the kind of repetitive structure that really appeals to babies and the earliest readers: I am in the tree, said the monkey. I am in the tunnel, said the train. I am in the water, said the swimmer. I am in the forest, said the wolf. Which doesn’t mean it’s boring. In fact I read it to my seven-year-old and a kindergarten friend of hers and they were equally captivated. Not just for the simple prose, but the bold, linocut illustrations by Joelle Jolivet that make each page like its own little world, inspiring storytelling and daydreams beyond the words on the page.
There’s something really wonderful about ascribing human thoughts to trains and wolves and mushrooms. And the idea that each small object has a place in a bigger world gives you even more to talk about when you read aloud to your child. In other words, each sentence is more like a story starter than a story. (“What else do you think is in the grass, besides that soccer ball?” “What do you think that girl in the chair is listening to in her headphones?”)
I also appreciate the fact that this picture book is surprisingly long. In a good way. I know I get so used to these 10-page board books that parents get sick of reading over and over, that to find a child’s book filled with more than 50 pages, means both you and your child are likely to find something new and exciting every time.
Also appealing: The people portrayed in the book are not all white. And the final illustration features a dad reading to a kid in his arms. Definitely a book for our times. Welcome to our shores, In This Book!
Find In This Book by Fani Marceau and Joelle Jolivet from our affiliate amazon, or at a local independent bookseller near you.