GIVE & TAKE is a title from a new imprint of one of my favorite picture book publishers, Candlewick Press. Candlewick Studio was created to offer readers of all ages titles "characterized by elegant, engaging design; captivating, well-presented concepts and content; the highest-quality illustration; and superior production values." Judging by the first two titles from this imprint, GIVE & TAKE by Lucie Félix and An Artists's Alphabet by Norman Messenger, they have instantly and marvelously delivered on their promise.
GIVE & TAKE is a concept book of opposites that is wonderfully realized and a joy to read over and over. It is also a book that, like all interactive, pop-up type books, is best enjoyed by children over the age of three and, as the back of the book advises, "best when shared with a grown-up." GIVE & TAKE is a simple, clever book with bright, bold illustrations. The first page of the book tells readers to remove the shape on the recto, which features a red circle with the word, "TAKE," at the bottom of the page. A page turn reveals the word, "GIVE," and an illustration of an open hand, ready to receive what now appears to be a red ball.
BREAK and BUILD and OPEN and CLOSE are word pairs that follow, with a square turning into two triangles that look like rooftops and the mouth of a green creature. There are other surprises, from a mirror to a cloud to a candle. The penultimate page of GIVE & TAKE reads, "TAKE APART," and shows red slices that are put back together on the page turn to make an apple. And with that, you can start the book all over again!
Having scouted out worthwhile board books for toddlers during the 11+ years that my kids were little and the almost ten years on top of that when I was a bookseller, I can honestly say I have never seen a board book like GIVE & TAKE before. It is a book that I know little ones will read over and over and I am sure that the thick pages and sturdy pop outs will hold up - as long as they are not lost. Lucie Félix's book is one that will make a unique baby shower gift, an excellent first (second, third or even fourth) birthday gift and something that will give any adult extra lap time with a wiggly toddler.
Source: Review Copy