Recognizing and labeling animals has never been so geometrically inspired! Young children will delight in the usual suspects (bunny, pig, frog, chicken, monkey, and lion) depicted in a whole new way. The elements of each zoomed-in face provide only a subtle hint of the animals' identities, inviting children (and adults!) to stretch the boundaries of what defines an animal image. The simple question-and-answer format provides immediate gratification for even the shortest ...
Recognizing and labeling animals has never been so geometrically inspired! Young children will delight in the usual suspects (bunny, pig, frog, chicken, monkey, and lion) depicted in a whole new way. The elements of each zoomed-in face provide only a subtle hint of the animals' identities, inviting children (and adults!) to stretch the boundaries of what defines an animal image. The simple question-and-answer format provides immediate gratification for even the shortest attention spans.
First published in France, Wegerif’s large-format board book provides an entertaining animal guessing game and a fine introduction to abstract art, too. “Up close, I see your green eyes. You are a...” reads the opening spread, while opposite two green circles sit above an orange semicircle again a pure white backdrop. The answer is jubilantly revealed on the next page (“Bunny!”), and the full creature appears (it’s no more than a white rectangle with two smaller rectangles for ears). Similarly geometric interpretations of five more animals follow, and Wegerif does a remarkable job of capturing each creature’s essence in a few simple shapes and bright nursery colors. Ages 1–4. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
PreS—In this inventive board book, colorful, abstract illustrations invite young listeners to participate in a guessing game. The leading spread shows an animal's predominant features "up close," e.g., the frog's mouth, the pig's snout. At each page turn, the creature's body and name are revealed. The title concludes with a representation of a lion, not highlighted for its mane or teeth, but for its roar. The text is economical, and the images are creative and original. Because of the format, the book's main audience will be babies and/or toddlers, but the abstract art can be appreciated by older preschoolers who, on repeated readings, will remember the animals and delight in the boisterous ending. Recommended with extra enthusiasm for its ingenuity and high-quality art.—Maralita L. Freeny, District of Columbia Public Library
Simple shapes in solid colors depict a variety of animals. Following the same pattern throughout, Wegerif presents a close-up of an animal's facial features, mostly using circles, rectangles and triangles. The next double-page spread shows the critter in its full, though highly minimal representation. The bunny, for example, is created with a large white rectangle, two circles for eyes, a semicircle for a (smiling) mouth and two smaller rectangles protruding from the top to represent the ears. The text, written in a clear, blocky type, encourages a guessing game: "UP CLOSE, I see your round snout. You are a... / PIG!" While the mention of "snout" is helpful in that example, the only verbal clue readers are given for the frog is "wide mouth," and "little nose" is the only hint for the monkey. While the images are simple and appealing from a design standpoint, they may be lost on the babies and toddlers still learning what these creatures are. Even though they appear on a suggestive background color, all of the animals are white, which may confuse little ones who identify these creatures partially by their hues. While older children and design students may find this artist's work compelling, it is too graphically sophisticated for the board-book set. (Board book. 2-4)
Gay Wegerif was born in Holland and moved to England, where she attended Bristol Fine Art Painting School. She started an art studio in London and later moved to Cornwall, where she lives today. She is the author of six children's books in France.