From Sunday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Book Review: Inferior rhyming mars innovation
Layers of spiraling holes give a distinctive appearance and feel to the “Look & See!” series of board books for babies and toddlers (Sterling Publishing, $6.95).
In the best of the four books, “A Circus of Colors!,” the different-shaped holes, which start out big and get smaller as you turn the pages, form a clown’s red drum, a crocodile’s green balloon and a magician’s blue trick box.
Irregularly shaped spirals in “The Curious Cat” become the hole in a top hat, mouth of a large frog and opening to a mole’s tunnel.
In “Amazing Animals!,” an inquisitive dormouse introduces himself to a range of fellow creatures, from kangaroos to koalas, with the holes in the book forming the critters’ noses.
“The Green Caterpillar” searches for a proper meal, munching holes in a mushroom, eggplant, chestnut and more before a kindly frog suggests he try eating leaves.
Tots will enjoy probing the books’ spiraled openings with their tiny fingers and watching the holes get littler as the pages turn.
But there’s a reason no authors are listed on the “Look & See!” books, as style clearly has priority over substance. The storylines are engaging enough for the first few reads, but for parents, the tales won’t hold up with repeated readings. The rhyming verses often seem forced and contrived; they don’t have the flow or finesse of poetry.
The “Look & See!” books provide a novel visual experience, but with stronger writers the series could have been truly innovative.