What Do You See CL

Cynthia Zarin, Author, Sarah Durham, Author, Cynthia Darin, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-395-76507-4
This fresh, innovative little book issues a series of invitations to readers' imaginations and to the senses. The book's many children answer each question differently: in response to that of the title, ""Dido saw a skinny hen, Henry saw a snail,/ Peter saw a green rabbit, Lulu saw a nightingale."" Listening hard produces even more eclectic results: ""Nora heard a peacock screech,/ Peach heard the snow,/ Maximilian heard a ruckus,/ Quint heard his hair grow."" The text is poetic not simply due to the rhymes, but because it expresses a poet's sensibility: an ability to observe, a sense of the absurd, an affection for the everyday, an eye for juxtaposition. Durham's ingenuous style resembles her work in Rose and Sebastian, also by Zarin. Numerous cartoon figures, sporting funky geometric patterns, frolic against a bright background; sometimes the scene is framed by a blobby amoeba-like shape; and often Durham demonstrates relationships hinted at in the text (e.g., for ""What do you find when you really look?... Izzy found her temper, Tess found her sweater,"" the picture shows Izzy in an ill-fitting v-neck fuming because Tess has come to reclaim it). The book's exploration of perspective celebrates the powers of its readers as much as it showcases the considerable talents of its creators. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
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