The sequential art in this book is sort of structured around a preliminary “confession,” which supplies its lines as subject titles for the sections of the volume, like “I confuse fiction with reality” and “I care about punctuation — a lot.” Most of it is expressed in pages of nine to sixteen panels, with each page detailing or iterating a distinct idea in the general space of reading, writing, and book husbandry. Less often, but more enjoyably to me, a page bears a single Scarry-esque drawing with a host of minutely annotated features, such as “The National Department of Poetry” (89). The art is stylized and dynamic, with a naïve air, but obvious skill at efficient communication.
The “humor” of the affair is chiefly created through wordplay and relatably-depicted states of bibliophilia. I don’t think I had a laugh-out-loud moment in reading the book, but I was often smiling.
Not all imaginary libraries contain imaginary books.
Children’s picture-book superstar Mo Willems (of bus-driving pigeon fame and confirmed disregard for the “fourth wall”) here entices budding readers into the pleasures of literacy by demonstrating the power of text to exert mind control. You will now think of a banana.
Further significance of the story might be found in the notion that Elephant and Piggie acquire agency by becoming conscious of their own containment in narrative. Their final yea-saying is an aspiration to eternal recurrence.
Sure, kids find this book funny. But it combines a sort of capitalist precarity of labor with anxiety about the arbitrariness of semiotic identities. Fortunately, the solution is solidarity. The revolutionary pages N and O are the most engaging part of the story.
since he had read the Word, the Word was now lodged inside him, even if he had not met the Author; that he had become the Book, the Word made flesh, through that little bit of the divine that the craft of reading allows to all those who seek to learn the secrets held by a page.
The past (the tradition that leads to our electronic present) is, for the Web user, irrelevant, since all that counts is what is currently displayed. Compared to a book that betrays its age in its physical aspect, a text called up on the screen has no history. Electronic space is frontierless. Sites-that is to say, specific, self-defined homelands-are founded on it but neither limit nor possess it, like water on water. The Web is quasi-instantaneous; it occupies no time except the nightmare of a constant present. All surface and no volume, all present and no past, the Web aspires to be (advertises itself as) every user’s home, in which communication is possible with every other user at the speed of thought. That is its main characteristic: speed.