Friday, May 6, 2011

100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

If you love books, as I do, you will appreciate the whole experience - the cover, the illustrations, the typography, the binding, the feel of the paper, everything! And most importantly, an enjoyable journey with a satisfying conclusion. 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe ticked all these boxes for me.

Cover for 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe, published by Gecko Press

Released today in both hardback and paperback, the paperback copy I have has the look and feel of quality. My first thought was that the retail price of NZ$19.99 is good value compared to other children's paperbacks I have seen at a similar price. In a large format the illustrations are big enough to take in all the detail comfortably, and of detail there is plenty!

Pages 6 and 7 from 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

100 Things is a counting book that deals with the BIG numbers, which is not easy to find - in my experience counting books tend to stop at ten or twenty for only very young readers. True to its title there are one hundred things to count on each page, and if that sounds arduous don't worry - kids can count , for example, just the blue elephants, or how many of the elephants are sleeping. Often the items are subtly grouped together in tens to assist counting.

  Pages 18 and 19 from 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

But there is so much more to this book than just counting. 100 Things is packed with humour and cute interactions that a child can relate to (can you find the farting mole on page 6?) My 2 year old picked out things that interested her, and many of them I had missed. There are dozens of hidden details and incidents to spot amongst the mayhem, and the joy of this book is the discovery of new things with every reading. Each spread is so completely different to the next that it creates some anticipation of what's to follow, and if you are paying attention you can sometimes find little hints or clues to what might be on the next page.

Pages 10 and 11 from 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

 Pages 12 and 13 from 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

Pages 14 and 15 from 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe

The book concludes with a last spread that brings all the characters together, and then the final page sends you back looking for more hidden goodies. 100 Things is charming in every detail, rich in colour, and utterly intriguing for young readers. Certainly worth spending the extra for a hardback copy (though the paperback is extremely well produced) it makes a brilliant birthday gift. I will share my copy with my daughter, but I would have wished to own this even before I had a child - illustrators and designers can appreciate the quirky illustrations, pleasing use of colour, and clever compositions. Each spread is an artwork in itself; I am hoping for posters, wall decals, and a series of similar books to follow. Pretty pretty pleeeeeeeease!

About the Author

Masayuki Sebe was born in 1953 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in craft. He is much-loved for his brightly coloured, humour-filled illustrations. He is especially well-known for his activity books, including Dinosaurs Galore (Gecko Press, 2010).
100 Things is originally from Japan, has also been published in France, and is now published in New Zealand by Gecko Press.

About the Publisher

Gecko Press specializes in English versions of curiously good books from around the world by well-established authors and illustrators. These books have a strong track record in their own and other countries, and are winners of international awards. Visit the Gecko Press website to purchase 100 Things or to view their catalogue.

100 Things Masayuki Sebe
Ages 3-6
Size 300 x 242mm
24 Pages

ISBN 978-1-877467-82-0 Paperback
ISBN 978-1-877467-81-3 Hardback

Published by Gecko Press in May 2011 
Read another Kitty as a Picture article featuring a Gecko Press publication: The Chicken Thief.

A huge thanks to Gecko Press for allowing Kitty as a Picture Kids' Design Blog to review this book.

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