Expert hide-and-seekers will hear the hushed scuttles and feel the quickened pulses as a group of animals plays a rain forest game of hide-and-seek.
Elephant counts while his animal friends scurry. Butterflies flutter around the crouching little elephant, a new one joining in with each page turn, adding up to a swarm that equals each giddy announcement: 1, 2, 3! Meanwhile, flamingo, chameleon, giraffe, rhino, monkey, tortoise, the starlings and bush babies hasten to get hidden. Momentum mounts as readers alternate between an animal wondering, for example, “Can I hide behind this rock?” (on left-hand pages) and the elephant’s escalating counting (on the right). Na also directs readers’ eyes up into the canopy and down into the underbrush, where creatures look for cover, getting them to crane their heads and look at the forest from every angle. Text size swells and reduces, indicating emphasis, and keeps the antsy energy going. Digital layering produces a fantastic fusion of painterly textures, soft patterns and fine outlines, yielding ethereal illustrations with dappled colors that shine like light through a leaf. So many undulating components could easily turn into roiling confusion on the page, but here each element coheres beautifully, rendering a sweetly swirling, tie-dyed rain forest awash in reds, yellows, greens and blues.
Ready or not! Here comes a book worth finding. (Picture book. 2-5)