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2X Bow-Wow
posted June 23, 2009
 

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Creators: Mark Newgarden, Megan Montague Cash
Publishing Information: Houghton-Mifflin, kind of a firm paperback stock, 16 pages, $4.99
Ordering Numbers: 9780152065645 (Colorful Life); 9780152065584 (12 Months Running)

These are tiny, blockish-looking children's books -- I'm not sure what the process is called, but it's that kind of kids book where you pick it up and every page has the consistency of a thick, layered cover. Newgarden is one of the great minds among cartoonists in terms of formal interplay and bringing about certain effects on the page. It should come as no surprise that both of these books are the explication of a single idea leading into a second idea that abruptly re-casts the first one. They're rudimentary narratives, less a trip to a specific destination than having your head forcibly moved to one place and to another to see what the author wants you to see. I've given books from this series to about a half-dozen friends with small children: they are either enthusiastically received by the young ones or outright ignored. That makes some sense: you either become interested in the feeling that the books evoke or you take a pass. These are modest books, but a lot of them together might have a more significant, overlapping effect than the sum of a bunch of single-book readings.

update: I'm told they're called "board books"