Preschoolers will love the topsy-turvy world in The Nonsense Show, the latest book from beloved author-illustrator Eric Carle. In the opening spread, a rabbit magician pulls a boy out of a hat, saying, “Welcome, friends! / Don’t be slow. / Step right up to / The Nonsense Show!”
The book is a tribute to Surrealism―on the dedication page Carle pays homage to master René Magritte―and completes a trilogy that includes Friends (a salute to abstract art) and The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse (Expressionism). Carle explains, “I appreciate the way Surrealist artists like Magritte showed us in all their paintings that you have to keep looking, keep paying attention. And keep playing.”
If these sound like high-minded concepts for picture books, never fear! Young readers will do just what Carle suggests, immediately warming to the absurdity on each page of The Nonsense Show. They’ll discover a child peeking out of a kangaroo’s pouch, a mouse chasing a cat, a tennis player swinging at an apple and a lion taming a pair of circus performers, with humor throughout in both pictures and concise narration.
The vibrant artwork is classic Carle, showcasing his signature style of painted tissue-paper collage. A deer (with flowers instead of antlers) on the title page is so three-dimensional that he seems ready to pop off the page, and readers can practically feel the fur on the rabbit’s big ears.
Don’t miss Carle’s silly biography and photo on the inside back cover, or the amusing list of “preposterous” words on the final spread. There’s endless fun to be found in this delightful book.