A companion title to the author’s The Countryside Game (2013) uses die-cuts and all-black, shaped pages to really get into negative space.
Readers are encouraged to grab a flashlight (“torch,” actually; this is a British import) and shine it through each page in a darkened room. White writing appears at the bottom of the right-hand page and asks simple questions about what readers are seeing: “A noise in the garden? Let’s go and see! / A bird or a squirrel? What could that be!” The images, when projected, are a playful and slightly scary mix of the graphic and the abstract, including a wolf and a cat. Eyes gleam out between tufts of grass; a bird and a squirrel share a tree. A concluding mandalalike design incorporates multiple images and exhorts children to “think of all you’ve seen, / and make your way slowly / into the land of dreams.” A fine-print warning on the back cautions against use with children under 36 months due to “small parts” (presumably die-cut figures detached through misuse), but the mesmerizing shadow play gears this toward slightly older children anyway.
This intriguingly interactive book may well inspire some ad hoc shadow play as well. (Board book. 3-5)