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KNOW WHAT I SAW? by Aileen Fisher


by Aileen Fisher & illustrated by Deborah Durland DeSaix

Age Range: 3 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 1-59643-055-9
Publisher: Roaring Brook

A cheerful pigtailed girl leads readers through a descending series of baby animals in an upbeat treatment of a verse from the late Fisher. In introducing each animal, the narrator asks, “Know what I saw,” and then answers herself, ten collie puppies giving way to nine chicks, eight baby deer mice, and so on, down to the narrator’s new pup of her own. The lilting rhymes, peppered with the occasional startling image, are well suited to the overall theme, the universal allure of the cute and fuzzy. DeSaix’s photorealistic oils make the most of this, each adorable clutch of babies leading to the next in a fashion guaranteed to provoke “Awwwwwws” with every turn of the page. The illustrations do not, however, exploit the implied audience the narrator addresses, and thereby leach some of the subtlety from the poem. When the narrator shifts, in the last stanza, from “Know what I saw,” to “Know what I thought,” there is ambiguity: Will the child get the puppy she wants? The illustrations provide the puppy and a somewhat too-easy resolution, which, if emotionally satisfying for readers, nevertheless lacks resonance. (Picture book. 3-6)