Review: The Magical Fantastical Fridge by Harlan Coben and Leah Tinari

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Hardcover, 48 pages
Published February 16th 2016 by Dial Books
Source: Publisher

I haven’t read anything by Harlan Coben so I cannot judge his writing fully from The Magical Fantastical Fridge but then again, neither have I previously seen Leah Tinari’s work and yet I feel quite equipped to evaluate her art by just this one picturebook.

I suppose the dilemma comes from the fact that a picturebook is sometimes largely a performance where the writing is not always the most important aspect of it. I am evaluating this picturebook on the basis of my reading of it. I do think the experience will be quite different were I to be read it as a parent reads a book to their child.

Now that we have that overly long intro out of the way, let us talk about The Magical Fantastical Fridge.

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The art is certainly vibrant; the colours are popping and Walden’s expressions are various and often fierce. My niece (she’s three) adores the typography and says that the words are dancing around the page and it’s true, the spacing and the sizing of the fonts often give a life to the words that almost seem independent of the story they tell.

I think older kids will enjoy the word games (malapropisms among others) though they may also have other questions like how is Walden able to jump from one picture on the fridge to another and are the people in the pictures alive.

Personally, I enjoyed the art more than I did the writing but there’s a lot more art than there is writing. The success of this picturebook will depend mainly on the parents being able to keep their child engaged in Walden’s plight. And possibly reenacting the entire thing with the contents on their own fridges the next day.