We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne

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We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Sam Tyler
Reviewed by Sam Tyler
Summary: Ben and Bella find themselves in the altogether wrong book and must work their way home via all sorts of strange worlds including spot the difference and counting. Join them in this fun story, but you may just remember the ideas from other books you have read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 32 Date: March 2016
Publisher: OUP Oxford
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780192743176

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Rarely do you read a book written for adults that breaks the fourth wall, but not a month goes past that I don't stumble across a children's book that has characters talking to the reader, or jumping from book to book. Done well, the idea of leaping from genre to genre within the refines of the same text is a great way of introducing youngsters to different types of reading material. Done averagely and it feels more like an author ticking off that pesky fourth wall breaking book for their resume.

Being an enthusiastic pair, Ben and Bella bound through their book, only to find themselves in the wrong place. This is not their book, but how do they get back? A hop, a skip and a jump will see them leaping from title to title, hoping against hope that each leap, will be the leap home. Their travels will take them into fiction and non-fiction, but will they ever get return from whence they came?

The likes of Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett proves that a book that has characters entering other stories can work brilliantly, but for the format to succeed the core story also has to have a point. We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne has all the elements to make it a fun book, there are some fun locations for Ben and Bella to visit. The learning books in particular are great, be it a counting book or spot the difference. The characters sometimes even use the skills in the book to make their escape.

The issue with Wrong is that it all feels a little flat as there is not much of a plot apart from moving from one sequence to another. Children's books are not often known for depth or nuance, but a little bit of drama would have made Ben and Bella's adventure more meaningful. As it is, the separate aspects of the adventure are fun enough, but the entire thing feels a little cynical and calculated. Byrne tries his best to make the book appealing with his illustrations, but just plonking them onto photos in the background is not really enough when you compare the book to others that have done similar.

The fact that this book leaps onto non-fiction means that it appeals a little more to the older child who is more likely to pick up a spot the difference or activity book. However, the simplified narrative (as it is) would appeal more to the slightly older toddler. This is a Meta story that does not quite meet its audience. A savvy 3 year old will just about equate the fourth wall pushing antics, but younger and older children will be put off either by the lack or purpose of the book, or complexity of its remit.

The best fourth wall busting book I have read recently is Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett, whilst Circle, Square, Moose by Kelly L Bingham and Paul O Zelinsky is also aces.

Buy We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne at Amazon.com.


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