The Good for Nothing Button by Charise Mericle Harper (review)
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Reviewed by
Harper, Charise Mericle The Good for Nothing Button; written and illus. by Charise Mericle Harper. Hyperion/Disney, 2017 64p (Elephant and Piggie Like Reading!)
ISBN 978-1-4847-2646-4 $9.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 1–2

In this beginning reader, a nattily attired yellow bird introduces his two friends to a new item: a red button that does nothing. His enthusiastic friends argue that the button does do something, because the blue bird is surprised by the button and the red bird is saddened by its lack of impact (“And sad is NOT nothing”). The yellow bird’s protestations of the button’s pointlessness only get his friends more determined that it’s doing something (“The button is making him mad”); finally they all agree that the button makes the yellow bird funny and funny is good, and they collapse in a paroxysm of silliness. This is a rib-tickling little look at a complicated concept whose nuances youngsters are just beginning to explore, and they’ll appreciate the championing of that favorite kid pastime, “nothing.” The speech balloons aren’t as clearly differentiated as in the classic Elephant and Piggie titles (and that pair’s framing narrative is cute but superfluous), but Harper’s familiar breezy comic draftsmanship, set off here with cheerful, tastefully patterned digital hues, remains inviting. Who knew phenomenology could be so amusing?

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