Bob Staake's illustrations for adults have been featured in the Washington Post and on the cover of the New Yorker. But I love his picture books. (See my review of The Donut Chef, and of Jack Lechner's Mary Had a Little Lamp. Both are on my "keep" shelf.) Staake's newest, Look! A Book!, bears his distinctive illustration style, including people of all sorts of geometric shapes and unusual colors. It's more a seek-and-find, Where's Waldo type of book than a standard picture book. Here's the explanation on the first page, which sets up the rest of the book:
"HERE'S a CRAZY
SEEK & FIND
With images of every kind!
So many objects,
big and small.
Let's see if you
can find them
Grinning ghosts and pizza planes,
underwater subway trains.
Not a lot of words to read--
the pictures here are all you need!"
The rest of the book alternates between extremely busy pages, filled with tiny, quirky illustrations, and pages that just have 3-6 round cutouts spotlighting individual items from the detailed pages. Each of the busy pages is based on a theme, and Staake gives the reader the task of finding some particular small item. Like this:
"MUSEUM CREATURES all escape! Lion! Tiger! Rhino! Ape!
Look and find the vampire's cape."
As you can see, as acknowledged by the author up-front, the text is not the point here. But, oh, the details of the illustrations! This book is an absolute dream for kids who like to pore over pictures to find things, especially if those kids have a good (not too convention-bound) sense of humor.
There are seemingly random items everywhere, like a fish blowing out a candle on a piece of underwater birthday cake, and an angel walking along eating an ice cream cone. Some things are (generally) realistic, and others (like various robots) are far fetched. But all of it is pure, unadulterated fun, for kids and adults.
When you get to the end of the book, Staake sends the reader back to the previous pages, to look for even more items in the pictures. This is a book to purchase, and to read over, and over, and over again. I think that Baby Bookworm will love it when she's older, and I've already added it (since this review was from a library copy) to my wish list.
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers (@lbkids)
Publication Date: February 1, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Paula Willey
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).