What Goes Inside? by Magda Garguláková and Federico Bonifacini

What Goes Inside? (Neatly Organized Things) by Magda Garguláková and Federico Bonifacini. Albatros, 2022. 9788000063591

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2

Format: Hardcover

What did you like about the book?  In this high concept picture book, a narrator named Bruno asks us to think about what’s inside the many containers we see everyday (Bruno is a White, hipster dude, complete with beret and sunglasses). His dog is going to help us investigate a series of objects (shown on the left side of the page) and their contents (shown on the right side of the page in minute detail). We start with a fridge, which faces a mind-boggling array of tiny food pictures, including broccoli, fish, yogurt, mustard, and milk. Then we’re on to a washing machine and here the pictures start to include some droll asides; in addition to dresses, sweaters, and socks, there’s forgotten money and washed passports. The bright digital art is clear and snappy and children who enjoy chatting as they identify everyday items will have a field day pouring over the illustrations. Other highlights include a pirate ship (complete with a multiracial and multi-gender crew), a fire truck, a henhouse, and a hiking backpack.

Anything you didn’t like about it? One set of illustrations really brought me up short – “What goes inside an igloo?” On the opposite page is a family of 4 European-looking people in parkas, along with bows and arrows, “traditional knives”, sled dogs, fish, etc. The implication for me was that these people live in igloos but some quick research revealed that the Inuit now live in houses, although they may build an igloo for a hunting trip. Better to have left this pairing out of the book. Some of the vocabulary in the book will be unfamiliar to American readers (the book is translated from Czech), for example, “What goes inside an artist’s suitcase?” or “What’s in an herbarium?” I had to laugh at the meticulously arranged rated-G contents of a rock band’s van…

To whom would you recommend this book?  For me, the igloo problem is a deal-breaker so I can’t recommend the book.

Who should buy this book? Best enjoyed by children ages 3-5, possibly for home use

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: June 13, 2022

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