Lynn: I used to think board books were mostly rather badly done versions of good picture books but I have changed my mind! We’ve been seeing some really wonderfully designed board books lately and a great example is the innovative Out the Window (Groundwood 2013). Award-winning illustrator Cybele Young has created a surprising and delightful book that may change your mind about board books too.
A round little creature loses his ball out the window. He is too small to see out so all he and readers can see, are the tops of something curious passing by outside. The little guy tries climbing up the wall and jumping up and down but he can’t see what is happening. Then he pulls over a chair, climbs up and can see! The next page turn yields the back cover of the little book with this message, “Time to Turn Around.” Opening the page reveals the street side with the little guy looking out the window at us and at a fabulous parade. And what a parade it is! Crazy vehicles, flamingos pulling a turtle fountain, an octopus car blowing bubbles, and a wild snake slide that shoots that missing ball back through the window to our furry friend. And you are right back to the beginning and this time through, it is so much fun to see the enticing tops of the passing parade and remember what was on the other side. Opening the entire book on the reverse side, spreads the whole colorful parade out to examine and enjoy.
I tested this engaging little book on 3-year-old Henry of our focus group with great success. He loved it, tried to guess what was outside the window and then spread the book out of the floor so he could examine the parade closely. He was especially interested in the path of the ball and loved how it shoots back into the window. He was fully occupied with the book for about 15 minutes straight which is no mean feat with an active preschooler. Henry was also fascinated by the way the book folded up and fit into its cardboard sleeve. It’s a plus in my mind when a child enjoys the process of storing a book safely away. So a definite thumbs up from Henry and me and here’s to Board Books!
Cindy: Lynn and Henry have done a thorough job of describing this fun book to you, but for a close up look, check out this video that gives you an additional perspective.