The Hole Story: Outstanding in the Rain: A Whole Story with Holes by Frank Viva
"ICE CREAM!" I SAY, MY BIRTHDAY SURPRISE.
A boy and his mother get off the subway at Coney Island, set for a birthday treat at the amusement park.
A celebratory ice cream cone is in order right away, but no sooner has the lad claimed his treat than the big scoop falls off the cone.
"OH, NO! I SCREAM!"
"The medium is the message," is the premise of Frank Viva's latest book, Outstanding in the Rain (Little, Brown and Company, 2015) a die-cut "toy and movable book" which utilizes holes placed strategically into the illustrations and text of the pages. The opening cut-out of the rows of subway cars opens to become the boy's screaming mouth, while the "ICE CREAM" on the vendor's cart becomes the second-page caption, "I SCREAM!"
What follows is retro day at the amusement park set in mid-twentieth-century Coney Island. The boy and his mother take a crazy, splashy slide ride and enjoy a picnic on the sand, where a beach umbrella's handle opens to a candle on his birthday cake.
And at the day's end, mother and son wait in the light summer rain to take the subway back home.
OUT STANDING IN THE RAIN
which, with a page turn, yields to
A NIGHT TRAIN
...and the birthday outing ends well, as AN ICE MAN opens to become A NICE MAN, who provides the birthday boy with a replacement ice cream cone with a smile.
As in his earlier noted works, Along a Long Road and A Long Way Away Viva's art, done in unusual eggplant, mango, and aqua tones, is both retro-styled and avant-garde, while his die-cut-revealed wordplay in the use of "oronyms," words and word parts which change meaning with context and shape-shifting detail is clever and creative. Some kids will be charmed and drawn into the well-executed illustrative details and wordsmithery on each page, while more literal-minded readers may wonder where the story went in this quiet progression through a birthday outing.