Tuesday, May 14, 2019


By Oyvind Torseter

(Enchanted Lion Books, 2013)

I want to start by saying I love this book, but then I can say that about almost every book I blog. This one, however, is simply brilliant, all because of a pencil-sized hole that cuts through the middle of the book. Opening the book, we see a simply drawn guy moving into a new apartment. Inside his apartment is a hole in the wall right beside the door. At first, it's not a problem. The guy hasn't noticed it. He unboxes a few items and makes a fried egg for a meal. As he sits on another box to eat, he looks up and finally sees the hole, eight pages into the story.

"What's this?" he says as he leaps up to examine the hole in the wall. He walks through the door to look at the hole from the other side; however, the hole seems to be gone. In the new illustration, the hole now  represents the window of the washing machine. He returns to the first room. By drawing the first room from a slightly different perspective, the hole moves from the wall to the floor. The guy trips. This hole is a hazard! It continues to move on each page as the guy makes his way through different parts of the apartment. Egad!

He calls a science lab. "Yes, hello...I've found a hole...in my apartment...Yes, no...It keeps moving...Yes...Could you come and have a look?"

Alas they can't. They want him to bring the hole to them. The guy must trap this moving hole in a box and take it to the lab. As he travels with his boxed hole, the hole on the page becomes part of a traffic light, the tire of a vehicle, a nostril of a child.

Kids shout out, "Eww!" when it gets to the nostril page. But they are hooked. They examine the always-present hole in the center of the page and marvel at how it forms a different item in each illustration.

Fortunately, the scientists take the hole from the guy who returns home, relieved that the hole is out of his hands. But, of course, we know the hole remains on the page. It's only a matter of time until the guy is distressed once again.

This is a truly novel picture book, with very few words. (The text was originally published in Norwegian.) It's one that kids will want to look at again right after the first viewing, spending more time paying attention to how the hole seems to move and how it takes on different forms due to Torseter's creative design. It's a book that's well worth the extra effort of tracking it down.  

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