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IMAGINE by Norman Messenger


by Norman Messenger & illustrated by Norman Messenger

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-2757-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Here Messenger elaborates on the split-page, mix-and-match format of his Making Faces (1993) and Famous Faces (1995) with additional special effects, including fold-over flaps, a paper wheel and extravagantly detailed landscapes with hidden figures or impossible perspectives. For all his theme and technical expertise, though, “imagination” is in rather short supply; the text often falls flat—“Imagine a teapot without a spout . . . You would get very thirsty.” “Imagine a face without a mouth . . . A kiss would be such a disappointment”—and many of the visuals rely on distortion rather than illusion or clever misdirection. Readers fond of picking out subtle changes between two ostensibly identical scenes, or creating portmanteau animals with flips of flaps will enjoy this—but not even the running set of visual puzzles tucked into tiny boxes in the corners will engage children past a once-over. (Picture book. 6-9)