Brain-bending exercise for eyes and minds of all ages.


From the Can You See What I See? series

Rich in wonder, hidden and otherwise.

The best place to hide something, the saying goes, is in plain sight, and the devil, they say, is in the details. Photographer Wick exploits both principles in this gorgeous and captivating challenge to the observational abilities of young and old alike. Wick collaborated on the popular I Spy series with the late Jean Marzollo and continues the tradition in his own Can You See What I See? books. Here, 12 different set pieces of great detail and complexity offer readers hours of enchantment, searching for a menu of objects hidden within each tableau and discovering a great deal more in the process. These dioramas are so richly detailed that the longer one looks, the more one finds to amaze and amuse. Each scene spans roughly five-sixths of a spread, with the remaining strip bearing its title and a rhyming list of items to find within the picture. Mirrors and impossible-object illusions add to the visual complexity. For example, “Costume Ball” takes place in a hall of mirrors while “Space Station Impossible” is designed as a Penrose triangle made up of three right angles. “Wacky Workshop” features perpetually climbing Escher stairs and “a house that’s / impossible / in 3 different places,” and “Flatland” blends 3-D optical illusions with strategically placed objects that make it hard to know what’s flat and what’s not.

Brain-bending exercise for eyes and minds of all ages. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: tomorrow

ISBN: 978-1-338-68671-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

As ephemeral as a valentine.


Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to...


A class visits the pumpkin patch, giving readers a chance to count down from 20.

At the farm, Farmer Mixenmatch gives them the tour, which includes a petting zoo, an educational area, a corn maze and a tractor ride to the pumpkin patch. Holub’s text cleverly though not always successfully rhymes each child’s name within the line: “ ‘Eighteen kids get on our bus,’ says Russ. / ‘But someone’s late,’ says Kate. / ‘Wait for me!’ calls Kiri.” Pumpkins at the tops of pages contain the numerals that match the text, allowing readers to pair them with the orange-colored, spelled-out numbers. Some of the objects proffered to count are a bit of a stretch—“Guess sixteen things we’ll see,” count 14 cars that arrived at the farm before the bus—but Smith’s artwork keeps things easy to count, except for a challenging page that asks readers to search for 17 orange items (answers are at the bottom, upside down). Strangely, Holub includes one page with nothing to count—a sign marks “15 Pumpkin Street.” Charming, multicultural round-faced characters and lots of detail encourage readers to go back through the book scouring pages for the 16 things the kids guessed they might see. Endpapers featuring a smattering of pumpkin facts round out the text.

Between its autumn and field-trip themes and the fact that not many books start countdowns from 20, this may find its way to many library shelves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6660-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: May 16, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet