This French import offers a visual feast of a domestic taxonomy.
The first-person text’s direct address invites readers to locate the narrator in the opening spread’s depiction of a neighborhood. “Hello! My name is Olga. Can you find me? I live with my family on the second floor of the pale green apartment building.” A light-skinned girl clad in blue stands in front of the building that fits this description, facing readers with her arms outstretched. Ensuing pages do not depict the girl and instead show groupings of various labeled items in the home: “Everything in the kitchen,” “Everything for tinkering,” and so on. Astute readers will track a black cat from page to page and notice that the one unlabeled item in the kitchen is a pet-food dish emblazoned with the name “Olga.” At book’s end the girl in blue is absent from a new exterior scene of the apartment building seen in the first spread, but the text reads “And here I am! Did you find me? I’m the one with the long whiskers,” thus confirming the black cat as the narrator. The thematic groupings move beyond standard picture dictionaries into the conceptual: “Everything for warming up” includes “Mom” and “stationary bicycle” in addition to “wool socks”; “Everything that shows time passing” includes “trash can” and “mirror” as well as clocks and “calendar.” Throughout, the illustrations balance detail with a clean aesthetic that prevents the pictures from feeling cluttered and invites close examination. The humans depicted are all white.
An inventive spin on what’s too often a strictly utilitarian format. (index) (Picture book. 3-7)