AUTHOR, AUTHOR! Inside This Book (Are Three Books) by Barry Saltzberg
They say everyone has a story to tell, and in Barry Saltzberg's latest, Inside This Book: (are three books). (Abrams Appleseed Books, 2015), Mom sets off a session of private publishing when she gives her three kids homemade blank books to work with, sized by seniority from oldest to youngest.
Eldest sibling Seymour explains.
INSIDE THIS BOOK IS A BOOK I MADE, CALLED....INSIDE THIS BOOK.
MY MOM MADE US BOOKS WITH BLANK PAGES.
After getting through the necessary explanations, Seymour launches into a boy-pleasing fantasy of "funny little orange things" growing long striped proboscises that proceed to try (unsuccessfully) to eat him. THE END.
Sister Fiona has a different muse.
"I AM AN ARTIST AND A POET!" she declares.
I PLAY WITH WORDS ALL THE TIME.
And Fiona shows off her poetic license with a charming bit of synecdoche* in a rhyme in which she describes her dog Fleabee as "a wagging tail and a cold nose."
Little Wilbur isn't old enough to share Seymour's artistry or Fiona's linguistic chops, but he gets into the spirit of the thing, dictating the text with his own portraits of his family and (what else?) a dinosaur in action:
"THIS IS ME.
THIS IS A DISASTER AND MY FAMILY!"
The kids are so proud of their venture that they agree to nest all three books inside one cover, and Abrams Appleseed obliges in this three-for-one new entry in the rapidly expanding group of books about books forthcoming in the past few years--Patrick McDonnell's A Perfectly Messed-Up Story, Kobi Yamada's What Do You Do With an Idea? B. J. Novak's The Book with No Pictures, Drew Daywalt's The Day the Crayons Quit, and Richard Byrnes' This book just ate my dog!--all of which lend themselves beautifully to classroom units on books, authorship, illustrating, and publishing.
"Saltzberg's clever conceit makes the metaphorical literal—and palpable—for very young readers. An absolutely nifty invitation to children to create and share their own wee books," proclaims Kirkus Reviews.
* a figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole or the whole for a part,