Keri Smith, Wreck This Picture Book, Penguin UK, November 2020, 64pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780241449455
‘Did you know that a book is not able to be itself without you?’ This is an idea that I try to get across in all my teaching about literature – a book does not mean anything much without a reader. You are the one that brings a book to life and ultimately you must enter a conversation with the book. Smith, of Wreck This Journal fame, takes this idea even further and urges us to listen to a book, play with the pages, make sounds with a book, smell the pages, take the book on an adventure, and even wear the book as a scarf.
Smith’s playful and thoughtful book will be eagerly devoured by all ages – especially the young who will respond to her clever mix of collage and drawings and to the wonderful challenges within. Older readers can puzzle out what she is getting at metaphorically and figuratively about the act of reading, the act of loving a book. Do they agree that ‘you can tell a well-loved book by how wrecked it is?’ Sharing and discussing your most wrecked and therefore well-loved books in a classroom or a library could be a powerful way to evoke the power of rereading those stories we most treasure. Perhaps then you could find a new book to wreck?
Reviewed by Madeleine Crofts