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I See, I See (R Henderson, A&U)

This extremely clever book will be loved by kids, who will want to turn it upside down to read it again as soon as they finish it—and it will be enjoyable for adults too. I See, I See is designed for a pair of readers, facing each other over the book, to read aloud, call-and-response style. Both readers see their dedicated lines of rhyming verse printed up the right way for them, with their partner’s lines appearing to be upside down. This novelty will entice even reluctant readers, but the book goes well beyond gimmick, offering a satisfying read-aloud experience with deeper and inspiring underlying themes: we all see things differently, and there is no such thing as right or wrong when it comes to perspective. Each of the pictogram-like images invites two interpretations: a curved mouth is a smile from one direction and a frown from the other; the moon is at the top of the night sky for one reader and the bottom for the other. The only quibble: it proposes to be a book for one or two readers but reading it alone wouldn’t be much fun. Similarly, it claims to be for children aged three to six but it really requires two participants both old enough to read. But all in all, this is a fantastic idea, and well executed.

Anica Boulanger-Mashberg is an editor, writer and bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop


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