BEFORE & AFTER by Jean Jullien


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Age Range: 3 - 5
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Whimsical illustrations challenge young readers to go beyond the obvious.

Bold artwork heavily outlined in black depicts a variety of “before” situations followed by their “after” counterparts on the following pages. Wit and humor pervade the different situations presented. A tatty-looking cat transforms into a sparkling clean cat. A brown-skinned child goes from long, black “before” hair to buzz-cut “after” hair to long, black hair again “way after.” The age-old question of what came first, the chicken or the egg, also makes an appearance here. A double-gatefold spread of a hair-raising roller-coaster ride will have readers laughing. And the consequences of a white-skinned girl staying out in the sun too long? An interesting tan, to say the least. One mildly provocative situation presents two people—one white, one black—who appear both to be pregnant. On the following page the white woman has lost her belly, and the black one is holding a brown infant. On closer inspection though, is the black pregnant-looking person perhaps a man—there are no breasts—and the father of the newborn? This and all the other situations should spark interesting conversations between children and their adult readers.

Older preschoolers maturing from concrete thinking to more abstract thought will find this a hoot. (Board book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 13th, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-7148-7408-1
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Phaidon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2017


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