Die-cut holes transform shapes into smiling critters.
Little ones are presented with some abstract lines and dots on the left-hand side of each double-page spread, accompanied by open-ended questions, such as “Who could this be?” Die-cut holes, in a variety of abstract shapes, appear on the right-hand page, and simplified faces peer out. When readers turn the page, two new animals are unveiled. An ellipse-shaped hole produces both a fish and a frog’s head, and a semicircle creates both a cat’s face and a bunny’s. With simple, inviting graphics in cheery, flat colors, Yonezu’s art steals the show. The cleverest reveal is the crosshatch shape that turns into the snout of a crocodile. On the final spread, toddlers see an unframed, smiling face accompanied by the query, “Now who’s smiling?” When youngsters close the book they see the cartoon face of a light-skinned baby grinning through the die-cut hole—it’s a pity that the introduction of this lone human character blunts the book’s inclusivity. As many toddlers (and adults) will be hard-pressed to guess what the abstract shapes will transform into, they will enjoy the die-cut format and the friendly faces inside.
A playful romp. (Board book. 1-3)