In this game-based book, readers play matching and look-and-find games featuring animals in various habitats.
This book version of the traditional matching game involving playing cards invites readers to find animal pairs, play I Spy, and seek-and-find. Every two-page spread features animals that live in the same habitat: forest, savanna, ocean, polar ice, and field. The left side of each layout features Mercier’s cartoon-cute illustrations of the animals, while the right side shows some of those same animals hidden behind sliding squares. These squares are an unusual inclusion in a board book and provide great motor-skill practice for little readers. Each habitat includes four activity prompts. While “Find a Pair” and “Look and Find” are nearly identical throughout, “Time to Hide” and “I Spy” are tailored to the specific featured animals. The “I Spy” questions do engage readers’ thinking around such concepts as aboveground/underground and colors; however, as a set, the prompts are formulaic and predictable. On the up side, featured animals include the familiar (elephant, squirrel, butterfly) alongside those that may be new to readers (musk ox, moray eel, pangolin), and the structure of the book allows readers to explore and utilize it in ways beyond the obvious.
While it suffers from redundancy of form, the gamelike structure makes this book a nifty choice for engaging young readers during travel or at a restaurant. (Board book. 2-4)