Thursday, January 12, 2023

Today's read... How to Eat a Book by Mrs. and Mr. MacLeod

One of my favorite thing about kidlit is the invitation to imagination. Adult books often overlook this aspect...and when they do have it, many forget the innocent fun. So when I heard the title and saw the cover for today's read, I was eager to take a peek.

by Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod
Union Square Kids
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8

“Sheila sat down to eat her first book and the strangest thing happened…The book ate HER.”
One by one, Sheila, Gerald, and Geraldine are eaten . . . by their books. This peculiar turn of events flings them far and wide. Sheila escapes the weight of the world entirely, while Gerald braves the wonder of seeing it up close. And Geraldine, well, Geraldine turns as terrifically terrible as she possibly can.
Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod craft a whimsical, modern celebration of books—with hints of Shel Silverstein and a splattering of Edward Gorey. Each page is fantastically illustrated with dipped pen-and-ink cutout art, photographed in a three-dimensional stage diorama, and digitally colored. The result is an irresistible world bursting with charm and character.



Get ready for an unique ride because books eat kids, leading to odd adventures, and things aren't quite the same ever again.

Imagination takes flight in this original tale, which looks at the idea of getting lost in a book...or 'eaten', in this case. Now, while this is the main theme behind the tale, it probably (most likely) isn't one  readers/listeners of the intended age group will understand without some explanation. But this isn't a problem, since understanding that concept isn't necessary to enjoy this read. Plus, it does open the doors to discussion, which is never a bad thing. Either way, this more metaphorical theme will delight adults, too.

This read is fun. It's silly, quirky, and takes off in unexpected directions. All the while, readers are pushed to draw some of their own ideas about what's going on, since the text delivers main moments but leaves space open around the sides to fill in the holes. The illustrations invite to fantasy and story-telling as they build out the scenes but, again, allow listeners to fit in their own bits of imagination, too.

The text and illustrations are fun to gaze at and do invite to play. The style gives a textured/3D effect, which works very well with the theme of diving into a book. Bright and bold colors clash with the black and white to bring life. I enjoyed the monsters with their general forms, which also leave much to the listeners own thoughts and fun.

It's a wild read and fantastical, but it's exactly this which makes it so enjoyable.

And here they are...

Mrs. & Mr. MacLeod are children’s bookmakers, living off-the-grid with their five children in the redwoods of Mendocino, California. Mrs. MacLeod received her MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design and spent her early career as an art director in San Francisco. She combines dipped pen and ink with cut paper and light to create original illustrations. Mr. MacLeod spends a heap of time engaging with the wild in the world and has the scars to prove it. Those scars have turned into stories.

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