Reviewed by Katy Killilea
The Book That Eats People is the book the guy who made an inappropriate toast at your wedding would give your child on her birthday (if he shopped at an independent book store.) The concept is either too terrifying or just terrifying enough: a book that eats people is on the loose. It can sense peanut butter residue on a reader's hands, and is mad, hungry, and mean. Could it be the book you're reading right now?
Mixed media illustrations that are funny, but edgy, and scary enough that you'd never cuddle up with it bring this quirky story to life. My six-year-old looked worried, and lost his ability to laugh once his sense of justice was offended. He thought it was too sad that the book ate kids. Meanwhile, my eight-year-old found the whole thing wickedly hilarious, especially in a library scene when the evil book slips into the dust jacket of All About Dolphins and is checked out by an unsuspecting moppet.
For kids who are ready to tread gently into horror stories and who enjoy toying with the concepts of "story" and "book" as in Jon Scieszka, this will hit just the right note. But readers who can't happily tolerate unsuspecting children being eaten by a ridiculously vengeful book should keep this on a high shelf for a few more years.
The Book That Eats People
by John Perry
Illustrations by Mark Fearing
2009 by Tricycle Press $15.99