Review of The Whole Hole Story

The Whole Hole Story 
by Vivian McInerny; illus. by Ken Lamug 
Primary    Versify/Houghton    40 pp.    g 
1/21    978-0-358-12881-6    $17.99 
e-book ed.  978-0-358-12948-6    $12.99 

Zia, a brown-skinned girl with a huge afro puff and an expansive imagination, discovers a hole in her pocket. Then the hole moves to the ground and enlarges, and Zia falls in. (“She might have been afraid except that this was an imaginary hole, so it could only be as scary as she allowed, which was, in this case, not scary at all. ‘I hate scary stories,’ said Zia.”) Wearing overalls that are transformed from drab brown to vibrant red and yellow when she travels from her sepia-toned world to one of full color, Zia creates her own fantastical adventures, always centering the hole. She fills it with water and uses a bow-tie-wearing worm to catch a regal-looking fish; she then declares the hole a swimming hole and cannonballs in, among other exploits. Throughout, Zia and her ingenious imagination remain in complete control. Lamug’s innovative and zany colorful illustrations, created with “pencil, paper and some computer magic,” exude joy and endless possibilities, portraying Zia in perpetual motion. The continuity of the backgrounds within this circular tale often suggests that Zia hasn’t traveled far, but given that her overalls stay colorful at the end of the story, it’s clear that her creative adventures have changed everything. A trip you won’t want to miss with a kid who can take you anywhere. Pair with Barnett and Klassen’s Sam & Dave Dig a Hole (rev. 11/14).

From the July/August 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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