Monday, July 11, 2022

Review: The End by John Bray

 It's time for a bit of silliness, and today's read accomplishes that goal nicely. When I saw this one, I was instantly reminded of one of my brother's favorite books, when he was young...Grover's (Sesame Street) The Monster at the End of the Book. Unlike Grover's tale, today's read also holds a lesson about beginnings, ends, and middles, but probably not in a super-serious way.

Ready for some fun?

by John Bray
Illustrated by Josh Cleland
Starry Forest Books
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8

AUGUST 30th!!!

Start with THE END in mind with John Bray’s debut picture book that explores conclusions. This is THE END of endings as you know them.

At once silly and smart, The End shows how a line we often read in books can also be found in real life. If you are eating lunch and you finish your sandwich, that’s the end of lunch! If you stop looking for your lost pair of socks to read this book, that’s the end of your sock search!

Bray also reminds us that there are more parts to stories too: “THE END of one thing is the beginning of something else. And the beginning of one thing is THE END of something else.” There are also THE BEGINNING and THE MIDDLE of everyday activities too. But beware of boredom—that’s the finale of fun!

Perfect for fans of B.J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures, this picture book is bound to entertain young readers who love to ask questions, read funny stories, build blanket forts, and complicate the passage of time. With vibrant illustrations by artist Josh Cleland, The End is just the beginning of a re-read!



With a little back and forth and all-over-the-place, the beginning, end, and middle are explored with tons of humor thrown in.

This book starts at the end and shows how ends can mean beginnings, which then, lead to middles, too. While starting with the end of a school year, it runs through various, everyday activities to demonstrate the three words as they intermix with each other or lead to a new beginning of something else.

If you're looking for a clear-cut read to describe the concepts of beginnings, middles, and ends, this is not it...but it might be a good idea to grab it up, anyway. The illustrations are key in holding some balance as the words play around the three themes in a way, which reminds me a bit of the run-around-logic found in Alice in Wonderland. The text plays with the three words, interweaving them in a sometimes muddled way, which, with a bit of thought, isn't so muddled, after all. And it's definitely silly.

While the first scene starts with the child heading home at the end of a year of school and calls it an end, the situations soon glide from mundane tasks, such as sorting socks, to more adventurous ones, which include building forts, creating cardboard ships outside, and more. The activities are things readers can identify with, some being more fun than others. But this makes it simple for listeners to grasp the concept of endings, middles and beginnings. To add to the fun, there are humorous details added into the illustrations. They also let imagination fly in a more grounded way.

It's a bit of a topsy-turvy dive into the three terms, but by mixing it up, readers also are forced to consider each one a little more to keep up with the tale. And if nothing else, it's quite a bit of fun.

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