Duck! Rabbit!

Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld

Two off-page voices argue back and forth about whether they are looking at a duck or a rabbit.  Children will probably first see only one of the animals, but when a piece of bread appears almost in the duck’s bill they will see the duck.  Then when the carrot is offered to the rabbit, they will see the rabbit.  This is a great visual puzzle that will get children ready to look at more complex optical illusions.  The book is infused with humor that will keep any youngster from feeling badly if they can’t see both animals at first.

The illustrations carry the book here.  Deceptively simple, the illustrations are very clever, offering visual clues but not straying from the original idea.  The book is written in the two voices which are easily read aloud and great fun as well.  I remember that we would sometimes get couples who would want to read a book to a class or to a group.  This would be an ideal book for a pair to read together to a class of early elementary or preschool children.

Great fun, this book is appropriate for ages 3-6.  Make sure you have some other optical illusions books ready to go.

Plant Secrets

Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman, illustrated by Phyllis Limbacher Tildes

Shh.  Every plant has a secret or really a series of secrets.  Seeds hold the secret of a new plant inside them.  Plants have the secret of being able to create flowers.  Flowers in turn are able to turn into fruits.  And inside the fruits are the hidden seeds.  Cleverly done with lots of scientific information, many good examples offering variety, and the theme of secrecy and surprises, this book will be well received by children.

Goodman does a great job of being scientifically accurate but also speaking at a child-appropriate level about plants.  Tildes has created illustrations that do the same.  Her gouache illustrations are detailed but very approachable.  They also represent plants that children will recognize from their own lives. 

An accessible and interesting book about the life-cycle of plants, this will be welcomed in preschool and early elementary classrooms as well as libraries.  Appropriate for ages 4-7.