Wednesday, February 11, 2015
written and illustrated by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui
Candlewick Press, 2014
Study the cover of this wordless picture book and you'll start to get a sense of what you'll find within: acorn --> oak (before, after), caterpillar --> butterfly, chicken --> egg. But wait. You know that old conundrum about the chicken and the egg? Well, the spread before chicken is on the left and egg is on the right, has egg on the left and chicken on the right! HAH!
So. Basic wordless concept book, eh?
There are spreads for deep thinking, like the one with the rocking horse on the left and the rocking chair on the right. (There are several before and after this that ponder time in a variety of ways, actually.) There are some amazing pairs that consider building up and tearing down, culminating in the ultimate combination of such: tearing down rock to build up a sculpture.
There are occasionally full-page spread befores followed by full-page spread afters, just to mix things up design-wise.
There are "characters" who reappear, like the ink that comes after the squid, and the pigeon who gives a feather for a quill pen in the ink, which comes before the typewriter, and then the pigeon comes back as the precursor to airmail (sending the letter the typewriter typed, perhaps?).
There are literary references (3 Pigs and Cinderella) for alert observers.
There are spreads perfect for conversations about cause and effect.
This is not a book I should be trying to review with words. We should be sitting side-by-side in a quiet corner, slowly turning the pages and chatting about all we notice.