Review posted January 3, 2019.
Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2016. First published in France in 2013. 52 pages.
Review written in 2016
Here’s a simple picture book by a graphic designer. I was surprised by the high page count when I counted the pages – there are only a few words on each page, so it goes quickly. The point of the book is the art, not the words.
This book is done with simple shapes and cut-outs and bright colors. It shows how simple shapes can make recognizable things.
The book begins, “All you need for apples are circles and the color red.” On a red page, there are three white circles, but two of those circles are made from cut-outs. When you turn the page, the circles become red apples in a tree, with leaves and stems.
The next interesting transformation is this one:
All you need for a ladder are six rectangles: five short and one long.
When you turn the page, sure enough, the long rectangle cut-out turns the short rectangles into the spaces between the rungs of a ladder.
And the shapes and cut-outs get more complicated. My favorite is the robin, made from a circle cut-out placed around “three bright triangles like the robin’s whistle and a red oval like its round red breast.”
We’ve got a little bit of drama with a storm blowing down the bird house and later the arrival of Spring. But the point of this book is the fascinating transformations.
It will get kids thinking, seeing things from a new perspective, and perhaps trying out this kind of art themselves. This is a lovely and surprising picture book.