In – Nikki McClure

Christopher’s Choice: Each week, C gets four or five books out of the library, and picks one as his favourite, and I review it. This is this week’s choice.

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 0 points

I was really glad he picked this book, because I wanted to recommend it to you! I really loved it.

This is a ridiculously simple book – the illustrations are bold and simple, the text is similarly bold and simple. And the concept is the most basic of “there and back again” stories.

The protagonist only wants to be “in”. He hides in baskets, puts things in other things, and stays in, in, in. But then it starts to rain, and he wants to be ‘in’ the rain. He ends up out, and wanting to stay out. He meets some owls. He gets wet and cold. And then he goes back home to be ‘in’ his nice warm house, in his nice warm bed.

There is a fold out page, so it ticks my interactive box, and even, at the end, a key for all the owls, so you can learn the different kinds of owls.

No dialogue really, so no Bechdel, and there’s only the one character, so it doesn’t get points for diversity.

I think the thing this book does so well is really capture the all encompassing nature of attention of children. If you’ve spent any time around small kids you’ll know how often their big feelings or wants pretty much fill their entire beings. This little boy, when he wants to be ‘in’, it is ALL HE WANTS. It is all encompassing. Similarly, when this switched to wanting to be ‘out’, and later back to ‘in’ again, it has a real sense of that absolute, all-encompassing need that small children seem to feel. The bold illustrations and the simple text emphasises this.

This book doesn’t score particularly high on our metric, but I loved it (and so did C, obviously). Well worth checking out.

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