When a preschool-age child imagines being inside a book, readers participate in the journey with Simon Says commands.
This board book starts on the cover with a dark-haired white child independently reading a book at bedtime. As the title suggests, readers open the book along with the protagonist, who becomes a part of the story set on the ocean on the first page. Each two-page layout includes a Simon Says command presented in a rhyming couplet with the significant verb printed in boldface: “Simon says open the book. / Have a look.” The directions throughout invite readers to participate as the protagonist does everything from traveling to the moon (“Simon says point to the sky”) to exchanging affectionate greetings with an octopus from the deck of a ship (“Simon says blow a kiss”). In the end, readers see the child snugly sprawled on the bed, with remnants of the imaginary travel in the surrounding room. Reagan’s illustrations convey the dark and stillness of the ocean and sky at night, everything washed in a gray tone. The parallels between what the child sees on the imaginary exploration and what readers see in the bedroom play up the beauty and reality of a child’s fantasy. Zebrowska’s rhyming Simon Says text invites readers to play along even if they’re not really on their way to the moon—a nice way to engage squirmy listeners.
Simon says open the book, read, and enjoy. (Board book. 1-3)