I gave a reader copy of Chapter Two is Missing by Josh Lieb to a friend of mine (she has two girls under the age of 7 and a third offspring on the way). After a bit of a mix-up (I thought I had given her a damaged book), I realized she meant the book was called Chapter Two is Missing. But I was not wrong in assuming that the chapter was missing. It is nowhere to be seen! (Or is it?)
This is a quirky picture book where the narrator is looking for the chapter that should be in Chapter Twos position in a book. But because it is missing, it throws the story off. The narrator will have encounters with the book’s janitor (who has some interesting ideas about “cleaning up”) and a detective that needs some lessons on how to be a good detective (when you are given a tip, you might want to check it out). Kids will enjoy the silly antics and even the odd, cartoon illustrations of Kevin Cornell.
Which leads into the art is made of physically dull colors. There are little to no seriously bright colors. The characters sit on the page, there is little movement to them. They are not necessarily unpleasant, but also not necessarily something that will capture everyone’s attention.
The fact that Chapter Two is missing is not the only reason the book is “thrown off.” There is no real story outside Chapter Two is missing and the narrator, detective and janitor are part of the story. You, the reader, interact as the narrator talks directly to you, but there is little in the way of traditional action or story points. This random talking can be a bit off-putting at times. However, the interesting part of the book is that it is not educational but has a few educational points. There are chapters and this shows you continuity of a story (going from chapter to chapter). Also, you can see a little about putting a sentence together (a period is missing at the end of one sentence and added to another). Later the letter M is stolen from one of the characters sentences not allowing him to use the letter.
Overall, this is an interesting book but one that I feel is going to be mostly “love or hate it” with little in the way of middle ground.