This Is Not a Book

When is a book not a book? When it’s a monster and a toolbox and a butterfly and much more besides. This board book created by the French graphic artist, Jean Jullien is a playful tribute to symmetry, to things that open and close and to the imagination. Exploring the creative possibilities of the book gutter, Jullien uses it as a line of symmetry in everyday objects like a fridge and a tennis court. This prompts the reader to play around with the orientation of the book. My two-year-old had great fun turning the book around to play a piano and ‘pitching’ it upright to peer inside a tent.

This invitation to play with the book as a toy encourages little readers to interact with it in a practical yet unique way and to explore the book as an art form. This is not a book is almost entirely wordless. In fact, the words that have been included are unnecessary as the strength of the book lies in its thick black lined and bold coloured illustrations. Its sturdy, glossy pages are perfect for little hands that will spend hours opening and closing the pages which are no longer pages but the jaws of a sharp-toothed monster.

While primarily aimed at the pre-reading group, this gorgeous board book would sit well on any coffee table, inviting anyone who picks it up to see it not as a book, but as a tightrope, a house, a laptop and much more besides.