Monday, June 7, 2021

Review: You Have to Read This Book! by Bruce Eric Kaplan

What better way to start a Monday than with some silly fun? Today's review definitely packs some quirky moments, but then, the title already promises something a little more original. Don't you think? I picked this one up not really knowing what to expect but had the inkling it could mean some laughs. 
Let's just say that this one twists a little oddly but has me curious to take a peek at the author's other works. 

Maybe, you'll enjoy a peek, too.

by Bruce Eric Kaplan
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

From Bruce Eric Kaplan, the author of Monsters Eat Whiny Children, comes a sidesplitting story about a dad’s determination to share a favorite book with his son, who would prefer to do anything else—perfect for fans of books by Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.

Morris is excited to share his favorite childhood book with his son, Benny. The problem? Benny isn’t interested.

Not even if it’s the last book in the pile.
Not even if it’s the last book in the house.
Not even if it’s the only book Morris brings on their desert vacation, and their plane has just left, and their train has just departed, and the camel they rode in on is far, far, away.

And they are stranded.

Not even then.




A simple plot goes a long way to create a funny tale, which leaves smiles, thoughts, and maybe a sense of familiarity.

Morris can't wait to share one of his own favorite books from his childhood with his son, Benny. But to his huge disappointment, Benny refuses to even give it a glance...let alone a listen. Morris is about to give up that easily and does everything he can think of to trick Benny into letting him read it to him. The attempts become more and more extreme until Morris finds himself in a real bind...and Benny grabs the book.

This one had me smiling right away because it's a situation which happens every now and then in our family...and I imagine that's true for others, too. It did strike me a little odd that this one starts with the father and not the son, but as it rolls along, it couldn't be better. The father is part ridiculous (and kids will roll their eyes and his insistence), and yet, it's hard not to empathize with him just a tiny bit, especially when Benny relentlessly turns him down over and over again. Kids, in other words, can identify with both sides, laugh at the extreme, and kind of wish Benny would just give in. And where it all leads is something nobody will see coming.

The artwork is as simple as the plot, and it allows the tale to be brought across with extra humor and sympathy, while never steering into side details. At first, I wondered about it but soon, I was drawn in and looked forward to every page. 

The writing is great for a read aloud and fits to the age group nicely. The text is kept short but allows the meaning and scenes to hit with the impact they need. It's a quick, easy tale, making it great for even those listeners who might be easily distracted sometimes.

And here he is...

Bruce Eric Kaplan, known for his distinctive, off-beat single-panel cartoons, has been a New Yorker cartoonist for more than fifteen years. He is also a television writer and was an executive producer for the acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under, as well as a writer on Seinfeld (funnily enough, one of his most well-known episodes is one where Elaine becomes increasingly frustrated over what she takes to be an utterly nonsensical New Yorker cartoon). He has authored and illustrated seven adult titles including the cult classic The Cat That Changed My Life; the collections I Love You, I Hate You, I’m HungryNo One You Know; and This Is a Bad Time; and three titles featuring the wonderfully neurotic Brooklyn couple Edmund and Rosemary: Every Person on the PlanetEdmund and Rosemary Go to Hell, and Everything Is Going to Be Okay. Bruce is also the author and illustrator of five picture books: Monsters Eat Whiny ChildrenCousin Irv from MarsMeanieheadSomeone Farted, and You Have to Read This Book. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two children.

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