Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult – Bruce Handy, 2017

I love books-about-books, and this one is about my favorite genre, so I would have enjoyed it anyway. But it’s also extremely funny, brilliantly-written, and has one of the coolest designs I’ve ever seen—credited to Thomas Colligan. The jacket, front endsheet, and back endsheet are each the most stylized possible element of a famous picture book (Where the Wild Things Are, The Cat in the Hat, and Goodnight Moon) rendered as “flat” paper, with an iconic partial element visible under a lifted corner: Max’s yellow crown with his clawed costume hand and foot, the Cat in the Hat stripes with the fish tail emerging from its bowl, rabbit ears against the green wall under the corner of an expanse of evening sky blue. I couldn’t put the book down and totally agree with Gretchen Rubin‘s jacket blurb: “I only wish the book were ten times longer.” I have a fantasy of writing essays like this about some of my personal favorites that he doesn’t cover, like The Mouse and His Child (he does mention Frances, at least) and Mistress Masham’s Repose. Inspiring.

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