The Real Story

Abrams. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781419755262.
K-Gr 2–Who stole the cookies from the cookie jar? And how did it end up broken? Ruzzier uses this simple premise to spin off into humorous flights of fancy—perhaps the cookies themselves ran away to freedom, or maybe an alien used them to power its spaceship—that emphasize the power of storytelling and imagination. The book is structured around a conversation between Cat and Mouse, with Cat pushing Mouse for the “real story” while Mouse lets its imagination run wild. When what actually happened proves to be boring in comparison, Cat and Mouse return happily to the world of fiction. Ruzzier’s pen, ink and watercolor illustrations pair well with the story, with funny and strange creatures populating a relatively minimalist background. While some caregivers could quibble with Mouse’s reluctance to tell the truth, most will probably recognize their own child in the story.
VERDICT A first purchase for most collections, this book will prove popular at story time.

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