Under Cover: The Boy on the Page by Peter Carnavas
ONE QUIET NIGHT, A SMALL BOY LANDED ON THE PAGE.
AT FIRST THERE WAS NOTHING ELSE.
Falling seemingly from nowhere, gaining form and color as he drops to the page, he finds himself in a featureless landscape. He picks himself up and tentatively begins to explore.
VERY SLOWLY, A WORLD BEGINS TO APPEAR.
The boy finds companions, a pink pig and a black and white penguin, and trees, fields, cows, birds, and then buildings come into view as he moves forward.
ONE QUESTION TROUBLED HIM.
WHY WAS HE HERE?
Courageously, the boy moves on, despite his unanswered question, as he grows older. He swims, rides a horse, even plays an accordion as they come to him. He paddles a canoe, grabs jumping fish, and clearly grows bigger, becoming a man. He builds a house, has a family, and celebrates birthdays. But he still wonders what he is doing on those pages.
Finally, as an old man with a long beard but without any answers to his question, he tries something else. He takes a brave leap and....
JUMPS OFF THE PAGE...
Ah, sweet mystery of Life! The one-time boy finds himself in a new place that is the old place, with everything and everyone he thought he had left behind, in Peter Carnavas' intriguing The Boy on the Page (Kane Miller, 2014).
Young readers will find author Carnavas' metafiction tale mystifying, unsettling, yet somehow satisfying. There are endless philosophies hidden in all this, nicely portrayed in familiar story-book style, in lovely black line and water colored illustrations, for young readers to puzzle over, although the conclusion lies not on the page. "A picture-book allegory about life and, to some extent, love," remarks Kirkus Reviews, for what it's worth. Author Carnavas playfully leaves us with a left-behind blank page, an open ending, upon which, we assume, we are free to picture whatever we want to make of it.