Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: This is not a book by Jean Jullien

Hmm. This is a very different board book. As the title explains, it's not a book - each spread turns the book into something else through the clever use of illusion in the art.

As you turn the book in different directions it turns into different things. The first spread shows a wide mouth, complete with sharp teeth. The next spread turns the book into a computer screen. Then the book is a tennis court, then a refrigerator, a cozy chair for reading, and a butterfly. Then it's a naked bottom.

Um....yes, that's what it is. Ok, moving on.

A piano and music, children on a stage, a tool box, a high wire artiste, and the penultimate spread opens out to create a larger spread with the cat on the front page entering the house. The final spread shows hands that clap as you close the book.

This is unique and elegantly done and the concepts are interesting. It will make readers think about perspective and how it changes what you see. But does it work as a board book, for ages 0 to 2? I'd say no. While the art is interesting and the perspective unique, it would take an older child to fully appreciate the changing perspective and the illusions the book creates.

Verdict: Phaidon creates unique and interesting artistic experiments in their books. This one will certainly appeal to adults and older, more sophisticated children, but it misses my own library's audience for board books which is much younger and aimed at introducing infants and toddlers to the basics of conventional print.

ISBN: 9780714871127; Published 2016 by Phaidon; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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