This is a text-free picture book that has a series of ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures, such as an acorn and an oak tree, or block of stone and then a statue.
Some pages are linked. There is a leaf and a caterpillar in one set of pages, and then the caterpillar becoming a butterfly in the next. Most of them are stand alone though. There is a cow and a bottle of milk, and a rocking horse and then a rocking chair. The latter trigged a very interesting discussion about growing old with my two – and in fact, most of the pages took ages to get through because the kids were talking about the bit in between – what had happened.
This is why I am so excited about this book. Because while a very young child could happily look at the pictures, there is a considerable amount to interest older readers (including adults). There is depth in the pictures – a lot of thought has gone into the choices of images, and where they are placed in the book.
It doesn’t force the reader to do anything other than look – but you naturally want to talk about what you see. Or rather what you haven’t seen – the events that led to the ‘after’. Some are obvious, some you can invent your own ideas, and allowing that opportunity to participate in the narrative makes it a very pleasurable read.
The kid’s favourite pages are the egg and chicken and then the chicken and the egg (a great opportunity for a philosophical discussion here!). My favourite is the page with a pumpkin and a coach. No surprise there really.
This is a thick, condensed book – the dimensions are half that of a standard picture book. Very little hands would struggle to hold this on their own but you’d want to supervise toddlers with this book anyway, to make sure the pages are kept in tact. Because if you get it, you’ll be reading it for years to come.