Review of The Book That Kibo Wrote

The Book That Kibo Wrote The Book That Kibo Wrote
by Mariana Ruiz Johnson; illus. by the author; trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
Primary    Eerdmans    32 pp.    g
4/22    978-0-8028-5589-3    $17.99

A typical day on the savanna inspires Kibo, a rhinoceros, to write a book. “He wrote about the red sky of the savanna, the silhouettes of the birds, the buzz of the bugs.” Naki the crane reads over Kibo’s shoulder and is so moved that she sews up his pages between yellow covers and then flies the bound copy over the sea and drops it in a faraway city. The book then travels from a lion to a rabbit to a hen, ultimately winding up with Nanuk, a North Pole polar bear. ­Johnson’s folk-art style, in warm shades of blue, yellow, and orange, gives the illustrations a retro vibe that suits the DIY ethos of Kibo’s creation and the way it moves through the world. The flora and fauna that surround Kibo when he’s writing recur whenever his story finds a new reader, giving a visual sense of how books allow thoughts and ideas to travel from one mind to another. Satisfying in itself, this book will also find a happy home in classrooms and serve as a springboard for young bookmakers’ creative endeavors.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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