The BN Review, Barnes & Noble’s online, all-original book review, is doing something pretty cool: the site has enlisted cartoonist Ward Sutton to review children’s books by drawing cartoons on top of images from the books themselves. In the first installment of what BN Review promises will be a regular feature called Father Knows Books, Sutton reviews Otis by Loren Long, published this past September by Penguin.
In a sequence that is reminiscent of the For Beginners Series books from Steerforth press, which explain the work of philosophers and writers using comics, Sutton comments on Otis, the story of a living tractor, by placing a drawing of himself in the book’s illustrations, speaking through word-bubbles in which he says things like, “You might not think a tractor would be much of a character…but Long does an amazing job of bringing Otis to frolicking life with his playful drawings.”
The review, which plays as a slide show from the BN Review site, is very much like an eBook itself. In fact, one would be hard-pressed to argue that it isn’t a kind of eBook. This highlights a possibly unforeseen consequence of literature going digital: not just eBooks, but instant meta-eBooks that comment on the originals by using the same text or drawings. We’re likely to see a lot more of this kind of thing as more and more print material–for kids and grown-ups–makes its way onto the Web.