A new title with paper engineering by one of the masters, Ron van der Meer, is an event for all devotees of movable books; and, more to the point, for any small child fortunate to lay hands on a copy. Especially when van der Meer’s work is admirably interwoven with witty text and illustrations by Mara van der Meer. The back cover warns that this book is not suitable for children under the age of three. But do buy it for a third birthday present.
At a basic level, it is a learn-the-days-of-the-week manual – but it is much more than that. The heroine is desperate to find someone to play with. But on Monday, Mommy (it’s published in New York) is off to work, on Tuesday Daddy’s heading for the store – and so on. Each of these grown-ups promises great things for Sunday, however, and by lifting a flap or turning the page to find a pop-up surprise, we enjoy glimpses of these promises in action. Daddy, for example, dons his tutu to practice (sic – but perhaps Literacy Hour specialists could seize the chance to talk about US/UK spellings…) ballet with his daughter.
Come Sunday, when her relatives gather outside her bedroom door just bursting to play, this heroine isn’t sure she’s up for it. Not just yet, anyway. She’s still in bed, finishing reading her miniature copy of Can We Play? Presumably that’s the Choke Factor, since this tiny book comes right out of its recess within the page so that you can read it too. This is the best kind of movable book. Constantly surprising, with moving parts integral to the narrative (not merely diverting decorations) and pages that demand to be revisited again and again to see what you missed last time. Full of teases, twists and chuckles.