“Who says you need more than one word to tell a story?” Indeed, the back cover’s blurb is right: you only need one word to tell a charming story, but having an art style that is expressive and captivating helps this tale run away with its theme.
Run is another great book in the growing catalogue of tales that contain one word. When one small boy runs away from home for being talked to for fishing without supervision, he takes his sandwich, fishing pole and dog to go on an adventure—that will teach mean old mom! Of course, as he runs away (meaning 1) from home, he crosses a run-down bridge (meaning 2), runs into (meaning 3) a river with rapid running water (meaning 4) to fish, but runs out (meaning 5) of worms before he catches anything. Then the rain won’t stop running (meaning 6) and dampens his day! He promptly runs home (meaning 7) to his waiting concerned mom. The laundry runs (meaning 8) to dry his clothes, and mom checks if his temperature is running high (meaning 9). She runs the bath water (meaning 10), and they end the adventurous night by running their fingers (meaning 11) along a book together.
“Run” is used in over fifteen different ways—many more for readers who are especially flexible—but the word is always presented as “RUN” in different stylistic fonts: splattered in the river, floating in the bathtub or seen with legs while running away. Horokhivskyi’s style injects the story with its nuanced meanings for younger readers, and his brilliant style will surely charm readers of all ages. The usage of comic panels helps the story create a running start and wrap up tidily. Twisting a typical story of a child running from home who returns with embarrassed gratitude, Run will leave readers running back to the page to try to find all 645+ meaning of “run”!
Lonnie Freedman is a Youth Services Librarian at Vaughan Public Libraries.