These days, breaking the fourth wall seems to be part of the zeitgeist in picturebook making, but it can be a bit of a hit-and-miss sometimes. When it’s done well, though, it offers a fresh way of engaging the reader and adds a new dimension to the story. It can also widen your perception of what a book can do and be.
Like Suzy Lee’s brilliant wordless books Shadow and Mirror, which were probably the first to put the gutter — that often-overlooked space where two facing pages are joined — to good storytelling use, reading This book just ate my dog! will probably have the quirky side-effect of you eyeing this gaping space even more suspiciously. After all, it swallowed Bella’s dog! (Among other things…)