Monday, August 12, 2013

The Hole

by Øyvind Torseter
Enchanted Lion Books, coming August 27, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

This was the 10th book I featured in my 10-for-10 Picture Books post on Saturday. It's too good to sit at the end of a list. It needs its own post.

As I said before, Enchanted Lion always has the most interesting books. They publish books from around the world. THE HOLE was originally published in Norway.

What you notice first when you pick up this book is that the covers of are heavy cardboard, the pages are stiff cardstock, and there's 
a hole 
all the way 
through the book.

When you open to the first page of this nearly-wordless book, you see that the hole is in the wall of an empty apartment. On the next pages, a mouse-ish creature moves into the apartment, carrying cardboard boxes of belongings. He opens the box labeled "kitchen," cooks himself an egg, and it's not until he sits down to eat (on a box-chair at a box-table) that he notices the hole in his wall. When he goes through the door that's beside the hole to see what it looks like from the other side, it's not there. It has moved to another wall. When he walks back into the first room, the hole is now on the floor and he trips over it. The hole keeps moving! He gets on his computer and calls someone to see if they will come look at this hole, but they tell him to bring it to them. He empties out one of his moving boxes, and spends several pages chasing down the hole until he finally has it in a box, which he tapes up securely.

Except when he leaves his apartment, the hole is part of his front door. And as he walks through the city, the hole is the mailman's whistling mouth, part of a sign, a wheel, a stoplight, an eye...

He winds up at some kind of high-security scientific place where he puts on shoe covers and gloves and takes the box with the hole into a sealed laboratory. The scientists run all kinds of test on the hole, but in the end, they just put it in a jar in a drawer. And the character goes home.

And the hole, of course, is still there, in the sky now. And then on his wall again. But he doesn't see it. But we do. And we wonder.

I can't wait to read this book aloud to my students. I can't wait for their surprise when the hole moves around. I can't wait to hear what they will say about the nature of the hole -- what it is...what it could mean.

I can't wait for all of those moments in a classroom that you want to put in a box or a jar or a drawer and save forever, but you can't because they're magic and cannot be captured and held.


  1. THE HOLE sounds really interesting! Definitely need to get my hands on this one!

  2. Not at our library yet, possibly because it's not out till later in the week-sounds terrific, Mary Lee. I love the mystery & students will, too!

  3. Love this line, "I can't wait for all of those moments in a classroom that you want to put in a box or a jar or a drawer and save forever, but you can't because they're magic and cannot be captured and held." That's the reason I am a teacher, for those magical moments. Will have to look for the Hole.

  4. This looks like a great book--thanks for sharing!

    Reminds me of a book I went looking for when I saw a Dr. Seuss exhibit. It mentioned a book he enjoyed when he was little--The Hole Book by Peter Newell. Also featuring a hole in the middle of the book--published in the early 1900s. If you haven't seen this book, maybe you can find it at a library? I found it through a used bookstore. I wanted to see what story influenced a young Theodore!


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