Review: Before After by Matthias Aregui

before after

Before After by Matthias Aregui and Anne-Margot Ramstein

The passage of time is captured beautifully in this wordless book that shows one example after another of before and then after.  The book is a delightful mix of concepts with examples from nature, pop culture and plenty of humor.   An acorn before becomes an oak tree after.  A small ape before becomes King Kong after.  Ingredients become a cake and a few pages later the cake is eaten and left as crumbs.  But what came first, the chicken or the egg.  This book takes a wry and balanced view of that debate by showing both in sequence.  One never knows what the page turn will bring, and that’s part of the appeal in this clever and funny book.

Wordless books are often short, but this book is nice and thick, the entire book offering lots to think about and plenty of chuckles along the way.  While it may seem to be more for preschoolers, older elementary aged children will get more of the references in the book like the chicken and the egg and King Kong.  They will also appreciate the passage of time visually on the page as ice melts to water.  Additionally, some of the images are more complex with a cow becoming milk but also becoming a picture of a cow.  Very meta. 

For children with reading difficulties in elementary school, this would be a great book to start discussions.  It is also a wonderful way to wile away some time looking at an outstanding example of wordless art that delights.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from library copy.

Winnie the Pooh Breaks the Record

Winnie the Pooh illustration

“Poohsticks” one of the most quintessential Winnie the Pooh illustrations has sold at auction at Sotheby’s for £314,500, which is more than three times what it was estimated at.  The illustration by EH Shepard, which was part of The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, has set a new record for the most valuable book illustration.