This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne

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…)

And if the reactions of my kids are anything to go by, this cute and creative (albeit rather hungry) book is sure to be a hit!

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