What’s Next Door?
Carter, the crocodile hero of Open Very Carefully, is back and he’s NOT happy. All he wants to do is find his way home, but he can’t get there by himself – he needs YOUR help! In this unique interactive book, with brilliantly designed die-cut pages, children are encouraged to take part in the story, to create a door in the page and use their imagination to guide Carter into new environments, from stormy seas to hot deserts and icy lands. But will that cranky croc and the little friends he’s made along the way ever find their way home?
What the Critics Said
“Even for the youngest, intelligent illustration offers far more than factual images, reinforcers for the all-important word. Sometimes its absence, in the form of judicious die-cutting, allows for a literal passage between pages, as in Nicola O’Byrne’s What’s Next Door (Nosy Crow), in which Carter, a bilious green crocodile with a bull terrier’s menacing, squat muscularity, is lost. Simultaneously begging and belligerent, he holds up a sign: “Please can you help me find my way home? Or I will eat you”. The reader is adjured to draw a door with a finger and think very hard about somewhere wet. On the following page, to fanfare (“Well done! That’s a brilliant door!”), a double-doored red portal is revealed to have been cut, through which Carter is wiggled to find himself, not at home, but in the sea . . . . This simple formula, repeated with deft variations, inspires complete fascination, imparting the impression that the imagination has the dangerous power of a buzz-saw to bring transgressive, revealing change, as well as furnishing the next page with new perils (from which it alone can provide the escape).”
– Times Literary Supplement, reviewed by Imogen Russell Williams
“Carter, the crocodile previously seen in Open Very Carefully, needs readers’ help to get home in this metafictional follow-up. As in the previous book, an unseen narrator directs the action, asking readers to trace dotted lines to create a series of doors for Carter to travel through. The doors, which appear as die-cuts, take Carter to ocean, desert, and snowy landscapes, requiring additional intervention (“Let’s try to get rid of the snow. Can you turn the book upside down and shake the snow out?”) O’Byrne builds light suspense (“I do hope he isn’t going to eat us”) while giving readers an active role in helping Carter make it back to his swampy lagoon.”
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