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Overview


In her first book, artist Sarah Perry has created twenty magical watercolors that are an open invitation to the imaginations of children. Beautifully produced in full color, these fantastic images conjure up a world of limitless possibilities where anything can happen: leaves turn into green fish...cats fly about on wings...and butterflies become a little girl's coat of many colors. Children of all ages will enjoy this book, the Getty Museum's first co-publication with the ...
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Overview


In her first book, artist Sarah Perry has created twenty magical watercolors that are an open invitation to the imaginations of children. Beautifully produced in full color, these fantastic images conjure up a world of limitless possibilities where anything can happen: leaves turn into green fish...cats fly about on wings...and butterflies become a little girl's coat of many colors. Children of all ages will enjoy this book, the Getty Museum's first co-publication with the Children's Library Press of Venice, California.

Illustrations present such imaginative possibilities as worms with wheels, caterpillar toothpaste, and whales in outer space.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Can you imagine what would happen if cats could fly of if leaves on trees were actually fish? What would happen if ants could count or spiders could read braille? These premises and illustrations serve as writing prompts as children consider what the world would be like in each case."--Bookalogues

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In her first book for children, Perry, an artist, suggests a series of impossible propositions, then makes each come true in striking if sometimes disturbing paintings. Her text sets up one scenario after another (``If frogs ate rainbows''; ``If dogs were mountains'') and ends with the suggestion ``If this is the end.../ Then dream up some more!'' Many concepts are funny (``If zebras had stars and stripes''); many are both intriguing and comic. ``If ugly were beautiful,'' for example, is paired with a painting of a warthog-with warts, bristles, wrinkles and all-wearing a glittering diamond tiara fit for a beauty queen. Other visions are more surrealistic: ``If mice were hair'' captions a picture of a child's head aswarm with lanky, squirming mice. Elsewhere, a girl in green sunglasses parts her lips to reveal a row of realistically drawn toes; a blue toddler marches off with a green elephant, holding its tail-which closely resembles the child's own. While the artwork is arresting, the premise would be better served with a more supple, varied text and a stronger ending. Ages 3-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
This book stimulates and trains the imagination. Children often imagine strange things, and ask "what if...?" Perry illustrates some of the strangest "if"s" imaginable. If cats could fly, if mice were hair, if worms had wheels.... The illustrations are terrific. This is an amusing book.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Twenty full-page, mixed-media color paintings with fantastic themes are offered here. The subjects include some children and numerous animals; most of them are depicted with atypical limbs, in strange environments, or engaged in unexpected activities. Whales swim in outer space; frogs swallow rainbows; a nude child sporting a tail is led by an elephant. The text consists of one phrase in the center of an otherwise blank page opposite each illustration that begins with the word, "If," e.g., "If cats could fly . . . ", "If worms had wheels . . ." While many of the stark illustrations are striking, the story itself is not fulfilling. Nothing happens, no points are madeeach picture is simply a dead end. Also, the painting of a child sporting writhing mice instead of hair is repugnant. Chris Van Allsburg's The Mysteries of Harris Burdick (Houghton, 1984) presents drawings full of possibilities, well matched with a minimal text that hints at supernatural presences and weird adventures about to happen. Judi Barrett's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (Atheneum, 1978) has an internal logic that suspends disbelief. If Perry's title offered a story or a cogent thought it might work; as it is, only her sense of whimsy is indulged.Karey Wehner, San Francisco Public Library
Carolyn Phelan
ges 610. Imagination is the name of the game, and Perry plays it with distinction. Each left-hand page carries a short phrase beginning with the word "If" and trailing off in a series of dots, phrases ranging from the strange "If toes were teeth . . ." to the bizarre "If caterpillars were toothpaste . . ." to the striking "If lightning made rhinos . . ." to the enigmatic "If music could be held . . ." . The words are mere jumping-off places for Perry's visual flights of fancy. On each right-hand page is an eye-catching, mind-bending illustration of the phrase. The artwork, evidently done in pastels, features rich colors, subtle shading, and enough realism in the technique to make the entertaining and implausible pictures believable. Since the book is made to be shared "Look at "this "one!" , teachers may want to show it to the whole class at once, then pass out the art supplies so that children can play the game, too.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Sarah Perry is an artist living in Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2003

    unusual illustrations inspire imagination

    I was at the Getty and overheard a woman tell her friend that she had the most amazing book to show her. I looked to see what they were looking at and saw this book. I had to agree with her, it is amazing and beautiful. I gave it to my grandson for Christmas. When it was opened, his mother, who is an artist, and everyone else in the room were impressed and delighted at the quality and creativity of the illustrations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2003

    Excellent!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If there was ever a book that you needed in your library this is it.I read this book to 22 preschoolers today. Their eyes were huge! We read and laughed, some of them rolled on the floor they were so crazy about it! 3 year old babies commented on the beauty of the pictures. We finished reading the book and before I could get my next breath out they were chanting,'read it again'. Some of the boys started making up their own What Ifs. Just buy this book and go for it, you won't regret it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2000

    Good

    This is a very wonderful book. I think the figures of speech were wonderful. My teacher read this book to us in class for poems and figures of speech.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 11, 2013

    I read this to my 80 fifth grade students yesterday and they LOV

    I read this to my 80 fifth grade students yesterday and they LOVED. It made them laugh and 'ewww' and all sorts of sound effects. :) They loved it. Even students that are usually quieter, or easily distracted were focused and enjoying it!

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