Nine prepared scratchboards packaged with a wooden stylus offer invitations to reveal a thematic set of artist’s scenes or, with selective scraping, add customized shapes and patterns to each.
Beneath a layer of removable black into which the outlines of hummingbirds, orchids, leopards, and other jungle flora and fauna are drawn as guidelines, Mirtalipova’s stylized pictures shimmer with pattern and color—which children can see for themselves by mechanically removing the entire layer or, if they so choose, alter (in limited ways) by scraping lines, spots, or stripes of their own. The pencil-shaped stylus, pointed at one end and chisel-ended at the other, comes in a reusable plastic cradle and definitely merits the cautionary hazard notices on the front and back covers. Like the co-published Enchanted Garden (and the other entries in this series), opposite each picture is a set of instructions that mix visual and verbal hints (some in rhyme: “What else is there for you to see? / A lizard climbing up the tree…”) that are capped at the end with an invitation to regard the illustrations as “your own work of art.” Fair enough, though they are really more like cooperative ventures.
Unsuitable for school or public library shelves but giftworthy starter kits for budding Braques and preschool Pollocks. (Novelty. 4-8)