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Posted & filed under Children's Book Reviews

The Good Little Book, written by Kyo Maclear, with illustrations by Marion Arbona, speaks to the power of “ordinary” books – those without accolades, medals, or even, at times a proper dust jacket. This “ordinary” book, despite being neither popular nor unpopular, takes a boy to imaginary places and ultimately becomes his companion. And when the boy loses it, the book goes on its own adventure and captivates many other imaginations.

Arbona’s gouache and pencil illustrations depict actions over time, allowing kids to visually trace a series of events. For example, she shows many of the boy’s reading positions; his thoughts inspired by the story, and all the places he looks for the lost book. Adults will chuckle seeing the smug faces on the popular books and the names of the medals that adorn them, such as the Pull Lizard Prize and the New Berry Medal. Kids will laugh, too, seeing what other creatures plan to do with The Good Little Book: “A raccoon thought it might be a sandwich. A cat sat on it to keep it warm.”

The endpaper design reinforces the feeling that this book has touched many lives: the pages appear to be scribbled on, and a “This Book Belongs To” tab records multiple owners. Since the reader literally holds The Good Little Book in their hands, they can assume that they, too, are included in the list of those for whom it was meant. This clever meta-fiction will have its readers considering the value and influence of an unadorned, quiet read.

  • The Good Little Book

    By Kyo Maclear, Illustrated by Marion Arbona, Published by Tundra Books, Penguin Random House of Canada
    • ISBN 13: 978-1-77049-451-0
Jen Bailey
Jen Bailey is an Ontario-certified teacher who holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She works for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. Jen’s other book reviews have appeared in Quill & Quire and Canadian Children’s Book News.