The masters of picture-book wordplay have spawned a new challenge.
On the cover is a little brown-skinned child in a red-and-white–striped bathing suit, standing on the shore and evidently searching for something. Within, the child’s questions are parsed one by one to make visual puns connected by various animals and sea creatures. The picture that accompanies “Who is being selfish?” shows a crab in a tug of war over a bucket with a large fish wearing a T-shirt emblazoned “I [heart] ME.” “Who thinks it’s too crowded?” depicts a boat overflowing with many creatures, including a crow. In the spread asking “Who is at the wheel?” an eel is steering a boat flying a modified Jolly Roger (it has a fish skeleton on it). But what do these seaside scenes have to do with finding a trumpet? The child’s search is not for a musical instrument after all, despite the title, but a pet elephant! The animal names within each keyword are highlighted in red, and the clever illustrations play up the whimsy with details that embellish the fun. The third in this team’s trilogy of wordplay, this book joins Where’s the Baboon (2015) and Take Away the A (2014) to make a delightful, entertaining trilogy that is a salute to language creativity.
Who’s going to love it? Anyone with a keen eye and love of words. (Picture book. 5-8)