Children’s Book Reviews
Children's Book Reviews: Nothing Happens in This Book
Publish May 24, 2018
Don’t be fooled by the title of London, Ontario author Judy Ann Sadler’s delightful picture book. There is, in fact, much humourous ado in Nothing Happens in this Book. The first inky, solid black page is completely blank, save for a provocative speech bubble that posits, “This book looks boring, doesn’t it?” After a page turn, the tiny, pointy-nosed, bushy-browed and bow-tied narrator emerges from the meta-fictional shadows, and has readers firmly in his conspiratorial clutches. His ennui fades as he starts to discover an intriguing assortment of objects, including a trumpet; a lone, extra-large, shiny shoe; and a gigantic, striped baton. Loading up his wagon with found treasures, he follows the path of confetti and popcorn and delightedly deduces, “Something must happen in this book.”
As the grand finale draws close, a cacophony of sound words in capital letters echo across the pages. Vigg’s stylized illustrations have a retro flair, and are filled with details to pore over. Objects are reunited with owners: crown to the Queen Bee; red nose to the clown; and ball to the juggler. Many early learning concepts, like matching and sorting, are effortlessly at play. There is a precise orchestration between the text and images that directs the pace throughout. The long, narrow trim size is perfect for leading everyone to the concluding, triple-gatefold, big reveal. Everyone loves a parade, and readers will want to march right back to the beginning of this clever book and enjoy the madcap procession again and again.
Linda Ludke is a librarian at London Public Library. Her reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, School Library Journal and CM: Canadian Review of Materials. When she’s not reading and writing she also loves searching for vintage treasures.
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