Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Look! by Jeff Mack

I had reservations about this book when I read the description; I always think books that encourage reading vs. screens are sort of...well....silly. I mean, if you're not reading, you're not going to get the message and if you're reading it you're already reading so...but Jeff Mack is so funny and my library has loved everything he's done, so I gave it a chance and he came through for me!

With only two words, "look" and "out" you wouldn't expect much of a story but drama, friendship, action, hilarity and silliness ensue when a friendly gorilla tries to get a little boy to LOOK when the little boy just wants the gorilla OUT.

The gorilla isn't sure what these strange square things are, but they seem perfect for getting the little boy's attention. But the boy is glued to his screen. The gorilla's antics escalate until tragedy strikes and the boy sends the gorilla OUT! and looks sadly at his broken tv...but there is a book right there and it's open and...a friendship develops and together they LOOK.

The two characters are delightfully expressive throughout their interactions, but there's so much more to the art than just the characters. Each page has a different "bookish" background, from the classic library date stamp in the front of the book to faux leather bindings, crumpled pages, and those classic library bindings. The text changes fonts on every page, from collage letters to scribbled crayon, matching the mood of the scenes.

Verdict: This is a perfect book for storytime, but also for beginning readers to practice their visual as well as textual literacy. This is definitely going on the list I'm making of picture books for beginning readers. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780399162053; Published 2015 by Philomel/Penguin; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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