Steve Lavis looks at animals foreign and domestic with two Peek-Through Board Books. On the Farm follows the wooly sheep as he searches out who has eaten its breakfast. As each page is turned, more animals become visible through the die-cut spaces. The culprits are found behind the tractor. In the Jungle follows the same format, only this time a crocodile is in hiding. "Here I am!" shouts the crocodile on the last spread. Then he asks, "Who wants to hide next?" ( Apr.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
In this seemingly simple board book, artist Bob Staake uses exaggerated shapes and vividly colored spaces to illustrate six pairs of opposites. While the concepts such as "big and little" and "hot and cold" are familiar to young children and their caregivers, not every illustration in this small book is easy to understand. A round-headed girl in a stylized boat is pictured "above" rippling blue water while the bubble blowing fish on the opposite page resides either "below the ripples" or "within the blue water," depending on the reader's interpretation. To illustrate "up" and "down," a space ship is shown blasting off, rising from the ground, out of the pale blue sphere toward the darker upper air. Floating on the opposite page is a saucer-eyed character, possibly the same astronaut, clutching a parachute which seems suspended by a dotted line. The most effective illustrations are those in which the images reappear in an "opposite" way on the facing page. Especially appealing are the cat and box occur on pages illuminating "in" and "out." On the left page an orange cat with green saucer-like eyes sits "in" the purple shadows of a black and yellow box. The opposite page shows a cat sitting "out" of this same box, now tipped on its side so that the purple shadow lies against and contrasts beautifully with the lime green of the floor. This board book is one of four in Bob Staake's "My Little Book" series. 2001, Little Simon/Simon and Schuster, $4.99. Ages 2 to 4. Reviewer: Jeanne Whitehouse