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by Cécile Boyer & illustrated by Cécile Boyer

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: June 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-934734-60-5
Publisher: Seven Footer Press

The differences among three animals—a dog, cat and bird—are explored in this sophisticated concept book that replaces character drawings with text representations.

Appealing, Modernist illustrations create lovely vignettes for the protagonists, who are depicted by the sounds they make. Each animal is assigned a specific typeface, the size, color and placement of which are altered to emphasize the various traits and emotions of its owner. In a cage, the bird’s “tweet-tweet” is small and controlled, but when he's free, his “tweet-tweet” runs broad and askew, soaring across the sky. Despite these text modifications, young readers may find it difficult to be continuously drawn to the personality or expressiveness of each character. Boyer tries to make up the difference with some playful potty jokes: "WOOF" tilts up against a brick wall, a trail of piddle coming from the "F." These may not be enough for the animal lover, who would prefer to see the majesty of an actual bird’s wings in flight. However, the artwork is attractive. Flat shapes done in a sophisticated, Pantone-catalog palette lend to Boyer’s hip and minimalist aesthetic. Her excellent graphic sensibility makes each spread worthy of a single print advertisement.

Winner of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2010 Opera Prima Mention, this design exercise is notable. But while intellectuals and college design students may find it brilliant, children may not find it particularly gratifying. (Picture book. 4-7)