A whimsical series of before-and-after images, from the author of The Bureau of Misplaced Dads (illustrated by Pauline Martin, 2015).
The book is printed on heavy stock with board covers but is not exactly toddler fare. Within, contrasting sets of very simply drawn cartoons on opposite sides of each spread offer amusing—if usually calamitous—changes by named but never-seen agencies. After a storm, for instance, a towel-clad “boy on a ship” becomes a naked (discreetly posed) “boy in the nip.” Similarly, “after the elephant,” a cake, an octopus, and a castle are left, respectively, “a splitch,” “a splatch,” and “a splotch”; food items are transformed “after lunch” to a few remnants (except for a plate of boiled spinach, which remains, oddly, unchanged); and “after the hairdresser,” a billy goat ends up a multibraided “silly goat.” Considering that the labels are translated from the French, Hahn merits a nod for the frequent rhymes and other wordplay. There’s no overall sense of development or resolution to the arbitrarily ordered contents, and human figures, when they appear, are all white. Still, the comical contrasts between the befores and the afters will elicit chuckles, and filling in the betweens can only add to the fun.
Droll, imagination-stretching ways to get from here to there, from this to that, from now to later. (Picture book. 5-8)