Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Look! A Book! By Bob Staake

I won't muck around. Look! A Book! by Bob Staake is my pick of children's books for 2011. My partner (who is a traditional animator) and I have been 'ooh'ing and 'ahh'ing over this book all week. Look! A Book! is one of the most delightful and beautiful children's books I have seen, fullstop.

Why so excited?  A large hardback with thick, glossy pages, it is extremely enticing. The jacket gives a clue to what fun lies inside and it is apparent that you are going to see the highest standard of illustration.

The text begins with LOOK! A Book! Two children are pointing to a book on the opposite page (which is revealed through a circular hole cut into the page.) Turn the page, and the text explains how the book works: 

With images of every kind!

So many objects,
big and small.
Let's see if you
can find them

The text continues in a lovely rhythm, and from there on you will find alternating double-page spreads - one in flat colour with simple text and circular holes revealing objects on other pages...

A bone!
A cone!
A pumpkin phone!

A clock!
A sock!
A toothy croc!

followed by an extremely detailed illustrative spread, each one packed with quirky characters and hilarious interactions, and each utterly fascinating in its complexity.

Double Page Spread from Look! A Book! By Bob Staake
Look closely, there are many subtleties:
Eat chocomeal, a billboard says, Kids love it! (Moms not so much).

The contrast in design of simple versus complex kept me from being overwhelmed by the intricate illustrations, every detail a masterpiece in itself. Children will love the novelty of holes cut from the pages as well as the amusing and extremely well-executed illustrations. There is plenty of opportunity for discussion with your child as you can both point out funny things you discover with each reading. I wish I could have had this book when I was little...ooohhh I would have adored it! Let me show you another page:

Double Page Spread from Look! A Book! by Bob Staake

 Close ups of the same spread: 

Detail from Look! A Book! by Bob Staake

Detail from Look! A Book! by Bob Staake

Detail from Look! A Book! by Bob Staake

When you reach the end there is a whole list of things to find within the book. Even then you haven't exhausted all the possibilities:

Now that your eyes are open wide,
you might find things that often hide.

Like stinky skunks and chimney sweeps,
dinosaurs and purple sheep!
Toasters, rockets, little frogs,
ice cream-eating wiener dogs!

And then the book winds up with a final rhyme and the reader is ready to delve back in to look for more! There are many themes including underwater, robots, carnival, and haunted house, even a treetop town - everything a child is fascinated by, and I guarantee your child will be fascinated by this book. Look! A Book! is a must-have!

Bob Staake is the author and/or illustrator of over 50 books, many of which are still in print. Learn more about Bob Staake at his website. You can purchase Look! A Book! through Amazon.

If you like Look! A Book! you may also like 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe.

Many thanks to Bob Staake for allowing Kitty as a Picture Kids' Design Blog permission to write and publish this review.

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