IOWA CITY, IA—Deriding the work’s narrative structure as formulaic and ultimately predictable, local 4-year-old Sophia Newsome issued a pointed critical assessment of the pop-up book Mr. Pottle’s Green Garden Friday, arguing it was overly dependent upon the lifting of colored flaps. “Naturally, I was impressed the first time I turned up a shiny, glitter-adorned flap and Mrs. Rabbit suddenly entered the story, but by the fourth or fifth time it happened, it became clear that [author Janet] Whipple was relying too much on this single device to generate dramatic tension,” said Newsome, admitting she asked her father to put down the book after “patiently enduring” the introductions by flap-lift of Mr. Worm, Mr. Bumblebee, Mr. Mouse, and Miss Frog. “Though in and of itself, the colored flap, as an extratextual construct, may be praiseworthy, its use by Whipple in these pages feels shopworn and a bit jejune. Unfortunately, I fear Mr. Pottle’s Green Garden is even less successful than the author’s foray into scratch-and-sniff literature.” Newsome later conceded her initial gloss of the text may have been too superficial, citing the cheery song about a scarecrow that plays when the book’s last page is turned.
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