Author/Illustrator: Lauren Child
Published By: Hyperion Books 2002
Genre: Children's book, traditional-ish
Age Range: grades k-3
This book is about Herb who loves storybooks and uses the pictures to help him figure out the story. He would take his books everywhere and even read them while he was eating which lead to many splotches and other things getting on his pages. One night Herb falls into his story book and wakes to find himself being yelled at by none other than Goldilocks telling him to get out of her story. He runs down the stairs and runs into the three bears. As Herb runs away from the screaming Goldilocks he encounters other traditional children's tales such as Hansel and Gretel, and Puss in Boots, and eventually makes it to a castle and then to where Cinderella is waiting for her Fairy Godmother. Throughout the story there is evidence of where Herb has altered his storybook by cutting things out or pasting things in, or drawing telephones in every scene, which is my favorite. He has to fix some of the problems he has created for these story book characters before he can find his way out but in the end he makes his way back home and fixes some of the things he has done.
This story is so original and creative. I love how the reader is encouraged to really interact with the book through Child's use of text on the page as well as pages you unfold or an actual hole in the paper that leads from one page to another. She also includes so many details that one can only catch upon multiple readings such as the "stains" left by food or what looks like a banana sticker stuck to the littlest of the three bears. She also incorporates some characters from her other books, such as the wolf with the eye-patch wearing a dress who is in her book "Beware of the Storybook Wolves" which also has Herb as the main character.
I thought this story could be a good introduction into an art activity where the students made their own altered books. Sometimes books are so loved that pages are torn out or stained or stuck together and eventually these books may get thrown away or can be found for very cheap at Thrift stores or yard sales. These books could provide an excellent "canvas" for an artist of any age all it requires is a little creativity. Students could add in pages of their own to replace torn pages or just to broaden the story. They could also go in and cut out or draw or paste onto illustrations in the book to create a new scene. This activity could be paired with an english lesson where they write the story that goes along with their new illustrations.