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Wreck This Picture Book by Keri Smith

I was curious about the concept behind Keri Smith’s new book ‘Wreck This Picture Book’ aimed at engaging kids in the act of reading, something which I wholeheartedly believe in. Smith is already a best-selling author, with her very popular ‘Wreck This Journal’ among others and I was pleased to see she brings the same irreverent and engaging style to this book.

‘Wreck This Picture Book’ explores how one can approach a book – can we touch it with our toes, our elbow, what does it smell like? What happens if we look at the colours and shake it a little?

All of which aims to give kids permission to regard reading as an act of wild creativity, an exciting activity where they are co-creators, using their five senses to bring any book to life.

It’s done in a really fun way, with lots of lively illustrations. And it makes the excellent point that books are a connection between the story and the reader – each person experiences it differently and each time we read it differently because not only are we all different, we are different each day.

My only mild complaint is it starts with saying some adults will be uncomfortable about this book because adults think books need to follow some rules, which involve being quiet and treating books well. While I agree this is true it’s also an easy troupe to wheel out. Any adult who brings this book into a kid’s life isn’t thinking along those lines and this line of thinking about books being quiet and dull could have been tackled in a more inventive way.

However, overall this is a fun, lively book which I’m sure kids will love. Best suited for kids aged 4-7, it could be an excellent book to use in a classroom to engage children who may be less interested in books or for budding readers to think about books and reading, overall enhancing their reading experience.

Reviewer: Heidi North

Penguin Random House