Book: The Story Starts Here!
Author: Caroline Merola
Age Range: 3-7
The Story Starts Here! by Caroline Merola is a picture book about breaking the rules. We learn this when we pick up the book the way one normally would (spine to the left) and see a back cover instead of a front cover. It says, in big letters, "The Story Ends Here!". Smaller letters encourage the reader to turn the book around. Sure enough, starting from the back of the book (turned so that the spine is to the right), we begin Little Wolf's story.
Little Wolf is feeling contrary, and is annoyed with his parents, who expect him to do things the conventional way. Sent to his room, he runs away. In the woods, however, he encounters a creature that appears scary. At least until he turns the book the other way around, and finds a familiar figure.
In interacting directly with the reader ("You! Flip the book upside down and turn the page. That page."), The Story Starts Here! takes a page from Herve Tullet's Press Here, and other recent titles. However, apart from a couple of interactions, this book focuses mainly on Little Wolf's story.
Merola's textured illustrations use slightly abstract backgrounds, and keep the primary emphasis on Little Wolf, the most crisply rendered figure in the story. He has a mischievous look about him that matches well with the story.
The Story Starts Here! is a light, fun picture book that I think will appeal to any preschooler who has ever chafed against doing things the regular way. I'm guessing that would be ... nearly all of them. Little Wolf wants to play the piano with his toes, and start a new pants-on-head fashion. His cry of: "I can't do anything around here!" will surely resonate. The rule-breaking format of the book, while a bit of a gimmick, will also appeal to kids. The Story Starts Here! would be a particularly good addition for libraries or classrooms serving preschoolers.
Publisher: Owlkids Books (@OwlKids)
Publication Date: September 15, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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