My Book (Not Yours) (Ben Sanders, Lothian)
This is the first in what is slated to be a series of picture books featuring Lento (a sloth) and Fox (a fox). It joins the growing trend of books that play with narrative and storytelling in a very meta, self-aware way. Lento and Fox appear to ignore what should be happening in the story in order to outdo each other, each claiming the book is about them. Ben Sanders’ mastery of illustration shines through in the simplified visual characterisations. The bold, limited colour palette clearly tells the reader who is ‘winning’ in claiming the spotlight at any given moment. However, the punchline illustrates that their one-upmanship achieves nothing other than using up all the pages, leaving no room for actual story. The banter between the two characters makes it ideal for reading aloud, particularly with differing voices. It is frivolous fun for kids aged 2–7, or a light-hearted addition to a story-making discussion in the classroom. Lento and Fox and their antics are sure to delight children, and it will be interesting to see what they get up to next.
Michael Earp is a writer and a bookseller at The Little Bookroom