Thursday, March 20, 2014

Give 'Im the Hook! The End (Almost): Starring ME, Donut by Jim Benton

To say Donut is an attention-seeking blue bear is putting it mildly. Getting him off the page practically takes an act of Congress.

Jim Benton's just published The End (Almost) (Scholastic Press, 2014) features a disgruntled author who tries to fire Donut when his opening-page audition begins with a big BURP!

"The END!!"

One BURP?"

YES! This story is OVER!"

No way, Dude! Determined to be a star, Donut is not going, at least not all of him. He exits page right but returns to stick his head back into the page to plead his case. Ordered to go home, Donut heads off page again, "losing" one red sneaker as he goes.

But he's not off-page long! Donut tries to sneak back, disguised in a big mustache and green Derby.

"I KNOW it's you, Donut."

A big sign [YOU CAN'T SEE ME!] appears, mostly covering someone with blue feet in red sneakers!

Finally the author comes up with the perfect ploy to get Donut out of his book! Sorry, Buddy, but...

"We're out of PAGES!"

But even running out of print space isn't enough to deter Donut, who right away is ready for a retake or a rewind. Or maybe a re-read?

Like Mo Willems in his We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Jim Benton joins those picture book creators who make the limitations of the printed page part of the fun of telling the story, (literally "thinking outside the box") even when their characters don't follow the script.  Perfect April Fools fare, Benton's story is easy beginning reader book, while offering plenty of room for hamming it up while reading it aloud. Pair it with Willem's book or with Lane Smith's hilarious look at reading, It's a Book! on page or on screen. (Read the review here.)

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