Chronicle Books

Board Books, Chronicle Books, Contemporary Books, 0 - 2 years

Hide and Seek

Words & Illustration by Taro Gomi

Published by Chronicle Books

Another fantastic board book from Japanese Author-Illustrator Taro Gomi. Playful and absurd, this seek and find book is full of ultimate cuteness that only the Japanese can pull off. I love this book! Gomi's illustrations are colourful and all of the animals are elegantly captured with a soft paint effect.  

Children will delight in the challenge of finding objects hidden in plain sight and will laugh at the absurdity of some of the illustrations. Each page has one additional animal so as well as finding hidden objects, readers can practice their counting. 

A toothbrush in a crocodile's grin, a cap on a bird's head, and hearts on a butterfly's wings. A small illustration of the hidden object is shown on the left hand side of the page. This clue or preview will assist younger readers to be able to read this book on their own during playtime. This book will challenge most 18 month olds so is best suited to children over 18 months.

If you like the look of this book, I have previously reviewed Gomi's Peekaboo - a fun and interactive board book that remains a strong favourite in our house. 

Chronicle Books, 3 years +, Vintage Books

Sparkle and Spin: A book about words

Words by Ann Rand

Illustrated by Paul Rand

Published by Chronicle Books 1957

"Some words are gay and bright and full of light like tinsel and silver and sparkle and spin." 

Words are the focus in Sparkle and Spin (well clearly, its 'a book about words'). It is clear that Ann Rand had a love for words, the sounds, the meanings, and the feelings they leave with you. She playfully explains the different ways to use words including the length of words, the volume used to speak them, and that some words sound the same but have different meanings such as 'hair' and 'hare'. The concept of onomatopoeia is explained well by using the words 'toot toot' and 'whee' with a striking depiction of a train travelling over a bridge.

The elegance of both the spoken and written word is conveyed through Ann's text and supported by her husband Paul's bold imagery. Paul Rand was an amazing talent in graphic design, at the forefront of the design wave of the 1950's and 60's.  

The illustrations combine hand sketches, bold swathes of colour, stencilled lettering and collage. Most of the book spreads could be used as standalone works of art. The front cover is the most striking with a black background, bright text and a hand spinning a top on its finger. The words and imagery have been coated with a glitter paint that creates a sophisticated and luxurious texture to the book jacket. 

Sparkle and Spin was written and illustrated in 1957 using phrases of the time, some of which are now considered to be of a bygone era. If I am honest, the words and rhythm of the text are at times a little clunky and almost clumsy. I am also not sure that some of the lines rhyme as well as they could. Perhaps this was intentional. 

I think that the reader will forgive this old fashioned and disjointed tempo because of the clear joy and love crammed into the short text. This book was clearly created for no other reason than to invigorate a childs love for language.

Reviewed by Tom White

Board Books, Contemporary Books, 0 - 2 years, Chronicle Books

Peekaboo!

Words & Illustration by Taro Gomi

Published by Chronicle Books

My little one loves to play peekaboo and this beautifully illustrated board book by the Japanese author & illustrator has become a new favourite in our home. With minimal text, each page is a different peekaboo mask with fun characters including a robot, cat, bear and frog. This book is really good fun!

Reviewed by Georgia White

Vintage Books, 3 years +, Chronicle Books

A Long Piece of String

Illustration by William Wondriska

Published by Chronicle Books

With no words, this book has a stunning, bold, red image on each page. In no time at all, my copy of this book will be filled with the grubby fingerprints of my little one as she traces the long piece of string that weaves through the alphabet.

Reviewed by Georgia White