Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SURPRISE! by Elsa Fouquier


Slide and Play Shapes

by Elsa Fouquier ; illustrated by Elsa Fouquier ; translated by Wendeline A. Hardenberg

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2021
ISBN: 978-2-40802-469-7
Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

As an orange cat explores a fanciful landscape, little ones are invited to turn, twist, or slide large buttons in this French import.

A square, circle, star, and triangle are visible through die-cut holes in the cover and interior pages corresponding to these brightly colored shapes. Within, a small orange cat (who often gets lost on the pages due to his diminutive size) meanders through the somewhat psychedelic landscape by zooming in an airplane, balancing on a leaf, and floating on a cloud. On every other double-page spread, youngsters are invited to manipulate one of the large, paper knobs, which seem to be made out of cut, stacked, and glued board pages. When the green square is twisted to the left, a panel hidden between the board pages flips up out of the top of the book, causing the birds that are painted on it to appear to fly out of the tree as if the cat has startled them. The star-shaped knob makes butterflies shoot up and to the right on another panel. Manipulating the triangle and the circle cause a palm tree to grow and the sun and a rainbow to appear, respectively. Unfortunately, the manipulatives may not stand up to abuse, particularly as children who try to replicate the “twist” that triggers the first special effect may entirely detach the star and triangle with the same action. Text offering direction and light observations appears on the verso, but Fouquier’s whimsical art in bubble-gum colors is what primarily draws the eye. While the large buttons are big enough not to cause choking-hazard concerns, their flimsy construction makes them unlikely to survive many readings by active toddlers.

If little fingers are too interactive, they will make this offering permanently inactive.

(Novelty/board book. 2-3)