1.28.2011

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:

HERE'S a CRAZY SEEK & FIND 
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  . . . 
LOOK!

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!


3 comments:

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!

Playing by the book said...

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...