Hide & Seek is the latest picture book by Il Sung Na. We also like Na's A Book of Sleep, a soothing bedtime book. Hide & Seek is a more lively text, one perfect for toddlers. The basic story is that Chameleon suggests a game of hide and seek to his animal friends. Elephant agrees to count, and as he counts to 10 (one number per page spread) the other animals hide. Elephant then finds everyone, except for the tricky Chameleon (who suggested the game despite having an unfair advantage).
Eagle-eyed readers will enjoy looking for Chameleon, who tries out different hiding spots on every page. The combination of something to search for in the pictures, minimal text, and the steady counting of numbers, make Hide & Seek an excellent choice for 2-3 year olds. There's just a hint of more advanced vocabulary in the dialog attributions. Like this:
"Can I hide behind this rock?" wonders Rhino.
"We'll hide up here," flutter the starlings.
While one wouldn't want to see a novel written with a different attribution words in every sentence, this style completely works for a picture book, and keeps the text from being too repetitive.
There's some gentle humor to Hide & Seek, too. The rock that Rhino tries to hide behind is actually Turtle. And when Gorilla stands on the same "rock" pretending to be a statue, the reader will feel for poor Turtle.
Na's animals, like those in A Book of Sleep, are not quite realistic, with extra-rounded shapes, and colorful textured skin (or shell, or fur) tones. Their style is quite distinctive. Na apparently creates these illustrations by "combining handmade painterly textures with digitally generated layers, which (are) then compiled in Adobe Photoshop." This is a great format for the many hidden images of Chameleon, as he takes on various colorful background images.
HIde & Seek is destined for many re-reads in our household. In fact, I had to promise to read it later in order to get Baby Bookworm to let me borrow it to write this review. It is visually engaging, entertaining, and even a tiny bit educational. I think it would work for group storytime, but it is probably better suited to one-on-one reading, so that kids can hunt for Chameleon at their own pace. Recommended for home and library use, ages 2 and up.
Publisher: Random House Books for Children (@RandomHouseKids)
Publication Date: June 12, 2012
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
© 2012 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).