What If?

Overview

MULTIPLE STORIES . . . MULTIPLE STORIES. A story about choices from the "Queen of the

Concept Book."—The Horn Book

WHAT IF a boy found a beach ball and kicked it into the ocean? WHAT IF two seals found it and began to play? WHAT IF a third seal appeared on the beach looking for a friend?

 

In this spare and deceptively simple book, Laura Vaccaro Seeger shows us the same story with three different ...

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Overview

MULTIPLE STORIES . . . MULTIPLE STORIES. A story about choices from the "Queen of the

Concept Book."—The Horn Book

WHAT IF a boy found a beach ball and kicked it into the ocean? WHAT IF two seals found it and began to play? WHAT IF a third seal appeared on the beach looking for a friend?

 

In this spare and deceptively simple book, Laura Vaccaro Seeger shows us the same story with three different outcomes, each highlighting the possibility in possibilities.Youngest children will enjoy this visit to the beach and the chance to guess what happens when different choices are made.

 

What If? is a 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Simply gorgeous.” —Starred, Kirkus Reviews

“Another superb offering from this master picture book creator-no ifs, ands, or buts about it.” —Starred, Horn Book

“Seeger unobtrusively underscores each story arc with textured illustrations—sunlight sparkles on the water, gradually sets, and stars appear in the deep blue sky—and provides a deceptively simple but creative introduction to the structure of stories and how simple it is to be a good friend.” —Starred, Publishers Weekly

“This book will have many different connections and possibilities in using it with students, from character education to writing.” –Starred, Library Media Connection

“Subtle variations in the sun-soaked illustrations help readers see all the possibilities in this near-wordless title.” —Family Fun magazine

“It’s the work of an artist who never overplays her hand, and the brushstrokes and possibly even finger strokes evident in the colorful paint give it an even deeper sense of intimacy.” Booklist

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Spare text and a deceptively simple concept examine the myriad possibilities that may result when a boy kicks a beach ball into the ocean. A brown and gray seal toss the ball back and forth until it bounces back to the beach. Gray seal follows it and discovers another gray seal to play with leaving a forlorn brown seal alone in the ocean. But what if gray seal tossed the ball back into the ocean where he and brown seal frolicked leaving the other gray seal alone on the sand? Or what if grey seal followed the ball to the sand met the other seal and then invited brown seal to join them? This book can be read on many levels. For the very young, it may simply be interpreted as a tale about friendship and sharing. What child has not experienced the sadness of being the one left out? Older children with the guidance of a teacher may see it as a jumping off point to discuss cause and effect or the fact that every situation can may produce a variety of outcomes. The bright rich blues and sunny yellows evoke the beach with four, square panels alternating with single- and double-page spreads to present the scenarios. This highly recommended book begs to read repeatedly to savor and appreciate all the nuances inherent in its simplicity. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—A deceptively simple, nearly wordless tale of friendship and sharing. The story begins on the endpapers, where a boy throws a beach ball and it floats out to sea. The next page has only the words "what if…?" and shows two sea lions playing with it until it rolls onto the beach. One sea lion goes ashore ("And what if…?"), where a third sea lion joins in ("Then what if...?"), leaving the first one alone and sad. Next comes a page with the word "or," and this time the second sea lion brings it back to the first, leaving the third one out. In the third "what if," the sea lion out to sea comes ashore to join the other two, and the three play together, and then head off, leaving the ball in the sand. Seeger's grasp of children's concerns and ability to visually tell a full story with minimal words is masterful here. She captures the complexity of friendship and sharing in a way that will speak to kids and invite discussion. The illustrations are saturated with color. The sea lions are depicted with minimal lines, yet still imbued with personality. The artist marries the charm of her "Dog and Bear" books with the thick color washes of First the Egg (2007, all Roaring Brook) to create something new and yet familiar. This book is perfect for parents and teachers looking for books on interpersonal relationships, or just a great book to share.—Amy Lilien-Harper, The Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
Publishers Weekly
In this outside-the-box book about friendship, Seeger (Dog and Bear) pictures a boy kicking a beach ball into the water, and then invites the reader to explore the possibilities of what might happen next. Each of the three stories about three seals is told visually with spare verbal prompts ending in ellipses (“What if...? And what if...? Then what if...?”). In the first two stories, a different seal gets left out of the fun (a closeup of a tan seal's forlorn face is downright heartbreaking), while the third story features all three seals happily playing together. The difference in color between the gray and mauve seals is perhaps a touch too subtle, but readers should be able to keep the animals straight. Seeger unobtrusively underscores each story arc with textured illustrations—sunlight sparkles on the water, gradually sets, and stars appear in the deep blue sky—and provides a deceptively simple but creative introduction to the structure of stories and how simple it is to be a good friend. Ages 3-7. (May)
Kirkus Reviews
What if two seals are playing with a beach ball and it rolls up on shore? What if one seal lumbers out of the water to retrieve the ball and finds another seal on land to play with? Seeger, who loves to play with perspective, presents three different possibilities in one situation (five, if you count the unwritten story of the boy and the ball on the cover and that of the seagull and the ball on the last page). Just when the story is finished-in this case, the two seals on the beach play together while the seal in the ocean looks on sadly-another possibility is introduced. Four square, sunny panels containing the ball and the first two seals (one brown and the other gray) introduce the three scenarios. The child reader, who stares directly into the eyes of the seals, is an unspoken member of the familiar friendship drama, too, wondering what will happen next. Never wordy, here the author goes beyond minimalist: "What if...? / And what if...? / Then what if...?" The faces of the seals, either playing happily or lonely and left out, draw young readers into the stories, inviting them to predict the conclusion. Simply gorgeous. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596433984
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 323,493
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: BRL (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.31 (w) x 8.81 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a New York Times best-selling author and illustrator and the recipient of a 2008 Caldecott Honor, Theodor Seuss Geisel Honors for both 2009 and 2008, a 2007 New York Times Best Illustrated Book Award, and the 2007 Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Best Picture Book. Her books include First the Egg, The Hidden Alphabet, and Dog and Bear,among others.

 

Raised on Long Island, New York, Seeger began drawing at two years old and never stopped. For as long as she remembers, she wanted to write picture books. She received her B.F.A. degree at the School of Fine Art and Design at SUNY Purchase in Westchester, New York, and  then moved to Manhattan, where she worked as an animator, artist, and editor in the network television business.

 

Seeger lives in Rockville Centre, Long Island, with her husband, Chris, their two sons, Drew and Dylan, and their dog, Copper. She loves painting, surfing, tennis, playing the piano, and spending time with her family. She takes long walks at the beach every day and paints in her studio every night.

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