A tiny (about 3.5 inches square) board book is a hide-and-seek game featuring six rodents and the foods they eat.
On each page an animal asks who has been nibbling its food, and then a small slider reveals the guilty critter. A mouse munches a snail’s apple, a hare eats the mouse’s cabbage, a hamster nibbles on the hare’s carrot, the hamster chows down on the hedgehog’s mushroom, and so on. It is a cute conceit, but there is a problem, as eating mushrooms might well make both hamsters and hedgehogs (and humans) sick. The formulaic text begins with an exclamation (“Well now!”; “Hello?!”) before the question about who has been eating what. It has a bit of a British accent: the mouse asks, “Who has tucked into my cabbage?” The revelatory text under the slider is also sometime vertical instead of horizontal, which can confuse toddlers just learning the conventions of print. Three titles published simultaneously have similar formats (and snags). Knock, Knock, Who's There? follows a little monkey looking for its “daddy.” Creeping, Crawling, Who Goes There? introduces motion words. The most successful is Hey, Who Did That?, which includes visual hints about what will be revealed when the slider is opened.
Hide-and-seek games can be engaging, but the small format and questionable food choice make sliding by a smart choice. (Board book. 1-3)