Skip to main content

Look! A Book! written and illustrated by Bob Staake

I saw first saw  Look!  A Book! by Bob Staake over at 100 Scope Notes back in early November and bookmarked it - in my mind.  Fortunately, I was working the day it arrived at the bookstore and I didn't have to rely on my sieve-like memory to prompt me to order it in.  Also fortunate - it was automatically shipped to the store! After checking out Staake's website, I seen why it was.  Those of you who read The New Yorker may recognize Staake's work and distinct, retro, playful style. From a kid's book perspective, his style feels a bit like a mixture of Lane Smith and William Joyce with a bit of j. otto siebold craziness thrown in.  After writing this review, with my six year old peeking over my shoulder to see the great illustrations as I did so, I broke my new rule (no more picture books...) and bought Look!  A Book! and I am so glad I did.  Having grown up with Richard Scarry as both my husband and I did, my son loves it, and so does my husband!

After the fabulous illustrations, the best part of Look!  A Book! is that it is the PERFECT look-and-find book for kids who are too young for the very popular I SPY and Where's Waldo series of books. And, nothing personal Walter Wick and Martin Hanford, but I think that Staake's artwork is phenomenal and highly preferable in a book that I am going to be poring over for hours with my child.  The book begins with this challenge which I am going to print in full because it really sums up the tone of the book:

With images of every kind!
So many objects,
big and small.
Let's see if you 
can find them
ALL . . . 

Grinning ghosts and pizza planes,
underwater  subway trains.
Not a lot of words to read-
the pictures here are all you need!

It's time now to explore this book.
Just turn the page 
and take a  . . . 

As you can see, after the introduction page, the text is short, sweet and rhyming. There's only ONE thing the author is asking you to find on each page. But, don't think that this makes it too simple - there is so much action going on in every picture that there is no end of things for you to have your little detective search for. Staake has a marvelous imagination and pages feature haunted houses, underwater worlds, tree-top towns.  Each page also features three die-cuts that reveal a bit of the upcoming scene or, after turning the page, items from the previous scene that might have been missed.  And, when you think you've reached the end of the book, there is a gatefold page that is a 12 item long list of 78 more things to find within the pages of Look!  A Book!

It was hard to find images from the Look!  A Book! to include here, but I wanted you to get as many eyefulls of Staake's artwork as possible, so the above is an illustration of his that is not from Look!  A Book! but is exemplary of the detailed scenes he creates.  As the review in Publisher's Weekly so aptly sums it up, "Kids will love the robots and the wacky machines, and adults will appreciate the asides: 'WAX FRUIT,' says a billboard, 'When you need a break from reality.' Likely to have a long stay in the bedtime pile."  Agreed!

These are just a few of the other picture books Bob Staake has written and illustrated or illustrated!


nopinkhere said…
We had the Donut Chef out of the library for a while and it was in HEAVY rotation. This one looks like a purchase though!
You've sold this to me! We all love Scarry's books here and the illustrations you've found for Bob Staake's book look amazing. Just the sort of thing we'd enjoy spending hours pouring over.
Tanya said…
Excellent! I am ordering all of Staake's other books for story time at the bookstore, but I have a feeling I'm going to have to break my "no purchasing picture books" rule AGAIN - Robots, Donuts and Cars are all HUGE in our house...

Popular posts from this blog

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers

How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers remains the most read post on my blog since I wrote it in 2012. Because of this, I have cleaned up this post, tightened the writing and added in any pertinent information that has come about since it originally ran. When I first started in August of 2008, I was scrambling for content, finding my purpose and my voice and not always doing my best writing. How to Choose Age Appropriate Books for Advanced Readers was one of the first articles I wrote and, as a bookseller and a book reviewer, and now as an elementary school librarian where I have gone from working with kids reading well beyond their grade level to kids reading well below, this philosophy remains my organizing principle and central focus when reading and recommending books to parents and children. 

In the interest of my mission and the attention this article continues to receive, I have updated and expanded this article and included a guide to using …

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…