The Look Book

by Chris Sickels (Red Nose Studio)
ISBN: 9781581809404

The form factor and presentation say a children’s book (and the Library of Congress says “juvenile literature”) but this has a creepy vibe to it that is a bit at odds with that expectation. I think that is a good thing; the tilted, not quite right nature of the story and images worked for me. To be fair, they’d probably work for the right kind of kid, too.

Good children’s books aren’t just cutesy. They are disarming, so can reach deep and touch grownups who are open-minded enough to read them (think Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree), or are full of wry and not just laugh out loud humor (think The Very Persisten Gappers of Frip). I really liked this book, but I’m not saying it reaches the level of those two — they are two of my favorite books — though it is several steps in the direction of Frip.

The word play that drives the story (“Ian saw a bird soar overhead” “Ann saw a bird with a sore head”) lends itself to some gory but fun illustrations. (You really notice the red with the saturated colors.) The illustrations are handmade miniatures, photographed at interesting angles and depths of focus.

If you have an odd kid in your life, or know a grownup who was an odd kid, they might appreciate this book and its amusing story about overcoming boredom.

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