Tuesday, September 1

a funny thing happened on the way to school

by Davide Cali
illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
Chronicle Books 2015

Excuses, excuses, but it's the SIZE of the lies that impresses here.

When asked why he was late for school a boy goes into a lengthy, imaginative journey into all the obstacles in his path. From a story perspective it's exactly what one teacher once described as "one dang thing after another," and the twist on the last page isn't all that noteworthy unless the reader has had no experience with picture books at all. The best example of this type of story is Remy Charlip's Fortunately; unfortunately this book isn't in that sphere of clever.

But what I found most charming, even refreshing, was the size of the book itself. Slightly smaller than 6"x9" it is satisfying to hold and the smaller page seems to better convey the chaos on the page. Sometimes I look at a picture book with it's gloriously huge flatscreen-sized pages with so much dead space -- excuse me, "atmospheric space" -- and wonder why the book needs to be the size that it is. One look at the picture book section of a library or bookstore and you can see that there doesn't seem to be a standard trim size, but certainly not all of these books can justify their out-sized ego. Bigger isn't always better.

So, way to go, Chronicle! More quality books with smaller hands in mind!