DINOBLOCK by Christopher Franceschelli, art by Peskimo, 96 pp, RL: ALL AGES
If you had the good fortune to read Alphablock and Countablock by Christopher Franceschelli and the husband and wife design team Peskimo, then you don't need to keep reading this review of their newest book, Dinoblock, because you know you need to buy this book now. If you haven't seen these brilliant, beautiful, completely engaging books, get your hands on them! Get two, actually, because you will feel compelled to give one to a child but you will want to keep one for yourself to read from time to time. These books, along with many other superb titles are brought to us by AbramsAppleseed, an imprint dedicated to instilling a love of books in babies and toddlers by publishing books that will "foster development of its young readers and engage then and their adults in artful, beautifully conceived books." You can read my reviews of other AbramsAppleseed books here.
Christopher Franceschelli and Peskimo bring a new eye to the genre of concept books, which, for the most part are bland and predictable. Their choices of what to represent for each letter in Alphablock and how to present numbers in Countablock are innovative and unexpected. The illustrations are colorfully cartoonish and detailed when called for. And the page turns are truly inspired! In fact, I think with Dinoblock, this dynamic team has outdone themselves. Dinoblock begins and ends in a museum. The opening spread is above. I wish I had images of the final spread, which starts with the page below then opens to a four page spread with the text, "Good-bye dinosaurs!" and shows the children looking at displays of dinosaur skeletons.
The genius of the presentation of the rest of Dinoblock is the way that the creators introduce the dinosaurs themselves. The text and illustrations compare a dinosaur to something familiar to our world today. Each spread is three pages, with the center page turning to change the picture. A flip of this center page takes readers back in time. Happily, the dinosaur's name comes with a phonetic pronunciation.
I haven't had a child interested in dinosaurs for almost ten years. I am not up on any new dinosaur discoveries and was happy to see a few new dinosaurs I had never heard of.
Source: Review Copy