UNDERCOVER by Bastien Contraire


One of These Things Is Almost Like the Others
Age Range: 3 - 6
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A picture-book invitation to look carefully and observe.

While some readers may be familiar with the Sesame Street song “One of these things is not like the others,” this French import’s subtitle first invites consideration of the similarities among objects before determining which one is “undercover.” The cover image showing a turtle among a group of hats highlights the limited color palette of brown, bright pink, and green against a white background. The forms are bold stenciled shapes and colors, and the turtle is about the same size as the hats. The turtle’s shell upon its body visually evokes the idea of a hat resting upon someone’s head, and yet it is a living creature, while the hats are articles of clothing. The solitary snail on the title page suggests a slowness that will reward careful looking. Ensuing juxtapositions depict similarities in form, size, color, and sometimes function or other times biological classification from one spread to the next, with, usually, four images in three straight rows on each double-page spread. One spread depicting structures may give some readers pause, as it includes such structures as a tepee, an office building, a factory with smokestacks, an igloo, and a simple cape-style house. These aren’t all dwellings, nor are they all permanent structures, and the “undercover” item is a confusingly indeterminate two-tiered object with a flame (or is it a cherry?) on top.

Slow down and look! (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 12th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-7148-7250-6
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: Phaidon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2016