In this cutaway book, every shape is more than it appears.
In each double-page spread of Baruzzi’s board book, a creatively cut hole looks onto the adjacent image. As a consequence, flipping through the book provides readers with ideas of the many visual possibilities inherent in each shape. A set of evergreen trees becomes feathers on an owl’s belly; a salad bowl becomes a turtle’s shell, and a wilted daisy becomes a rooster’s comb. While the rhyming text does not aim to tell a story, there is a harmony to the couplets that gives the whole book a kind of arc and flow. The bold colors and clean illustrations are appealing, easy to decipher, and they focus on items that are both familiar to Western readers and developmentally appropriate. While the book’s design is clever and engaging, not all of the cutaways are equally successful: The cover cutout of a whale’s flukes, for example, is something that readers will have to flip back to in order to remember, and the triangle pattern that forms both evergreen trees and the owl’s feathers may be difficult for very young children to recognize. Overall, though, the book is a well-designed invitation to both recognize visual similarities and imagine the many different manifestations that a shape can take.
A fun, mostly successful set of visual riddles for young readers. (Board book. 1-3)