cover image One Boy

One Boy

Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Author . Roaring Brook/Porter $14.95 (48

Seeger (First the Egg ) crafts another nifty peek-a-boo book, counting to 10 and identifying new words by exposing or covering letters with die-cuts. A square die-cut on the cover frames the head of the title character, who is quickly introduced: as readers turn to the first spread, Seeger offers a numeral one and “one boy” on the verso page, with the boy framed in a rectangle on the right. A turn of the page shifts the opening to the left side and the words “all alone” appear, with “alone” incorporating “one.” The boy now is visible without the frame, seated among empty chairs, a knapsack and paintbrushes by his side. This pattern repeats with “two seals/ at the sea,” the “sea” derived from “seals.” “Three apes,” behind die-cut bars of a cage, make a “big escape.” Aside from “four monkeys” who “[hold] the key” to the apes' cage, the images do not form a continuous narrative. Instead, the “one boy” reappears, and with the words “all done,” he walks away from the book's 10 images, his paintbrushes dripping. Seeger uses pared-down digital art and flat saturated colors, trading in her characteristic handmade appeal for a slick look. But she's innovative as ever, improving a standard-issue concept with a game of words inside words. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)