Little ones are encouraged to guess the identity of various animals through pun-filled riddles.
“Who can sing while sitting in a tree? Who can?” So reads the text on the left-side of the first double-page spread. Across the gutter, a telltale bright beak peeks out from a copse of trees, and the page-turn reveals the answer: “TOUCAN.” “Who can?” is asked again to introduce a pelican, and the pattern of riddle and reveal continues with question on recto and answer on the following verso. The next set of animals—pandas and barracudas—answers the question “Who does?” The puns get stretched a little too thin when the riddle reads “Who stirs the wheel in the playground? Who stirs?” and the answer is “HAMSTERS.” While van Kampen’s illustrations are lively enough against white backgrounds and employ warmly saturated colors, the tone of the art is an odd mix of the naturalistic (pandas eating bamboo) and the whimsical (centipedes reading this very book). The project ends with a query directed to readers, asking who can read this riddle book. On the following double-page spread a white toddler sits in an oversized chair reading as all the animals (including fish-out-of-water minnows and a barracuda) from subsequent pages gaze on with admiration.
While the seed of a good idea is here, it withers and dies by the end (pun intended). (Board book. 2-3)