The Run

S.&S./Aladdin. Aug. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534408869.
PreS-K–What is happening? Animals are running—penguins, lions, polar bears, chickens, and more—as a voice asks questions in speech bubbles visible at the corner of each page. The unseen narrator wants to know why everyone is running. Are they playing a game? Is there free ice cream? Is someone chasing them? The animals are mute, even when the unseen narrator pleads for them to stop. next page reveals the narrator as a boy seated on a toilet, reading a book. Speech bubbles reveal his thoughts: “Why are they all running? It’s a mystery! Gee, what a strange book.” An insistent knock on the bathroom door reveals the same (impatient) animals outside the door: “WE WANT TO PEE!” The little boy, book in hand, exits the bathroom saying, “Maybe I should run.” The title makes good use of the horizontal full-page spreads to emphasize the running animals. Swashes of matte color with minimal ink outlines depict backgrounds appropriate for each animal and the tail end of another animal is revealed before the page turn, encouraging more engagement for readers. The depiction of the boy, red book covering the front of his lower body, is modest.
VERDICT Readers will be compelled to find out more until the satisfying and hilarious end to this preschool work of metafiction.

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