[Review Copy Courtesy of Chronicle Books]
In Who Was That? readers learn that they are not as observant as they think they are, but that won’t stop them from laughing about it. In asking us questions about what we’ve just seen, this book deftly and playfully shows us how vulnerable we are to oversight and misdirection. You’ll feel compelled to stop, go back, and examine each page. Even when you’re sure that you’re ready for the next page turn and you won’t be caught of guard this time — you and your little ones will still be surprised. The whole concept is very well done.
Who Was That? overflows with that magic you look for in a picture book experience. It will surprise you and teach you something about yourself, but that is secondary to how much fun you will have reading it with someone.
Before you even open the book you know that you’re about to experience something special. The shape of the book, which is about 2/5th the height and roughly 1 and 1/5 the length of a standard picture book, immediately throws you off from what you’ve come to expect. It’s a great design that instantly piques your curiosity and draws you in.
Who Was That? is very funny, captivating, and plays well to most every kind of audience – from preschools to nursing homes and everywhere in between. Everyone I’ve read this book to has loved it — from the four-year-old to the forty-year old.
It’s an especially fun book to have your children introduce to unsuspecting adults. The adult sits down, fairly confident that they know what to expect, only to then be delightfully surprised.
Little ones, too, will get a surprise, because many may do better on answering the questions in the book than the adults. This gives little ones a sense of glee as they get something right that the “all-knowing” adult has missed.
Because the first reading has so many surprises, I wondered how well its fun factor was going to hold up on subsequent readings. I was a little concerned that this might be a one-read-thorough kind of book — but my fears were unfounded. We read this one regularly and it is a lively experience every time. There are so many subtle details that you’ll find yourself noticing something new and surprising each time you read it.
The illustrations are bright and charming with all of the characters having hilarious and enchanting expressions. Who Was That? fully utilizes the picture book medium, making every page interactive — you blow on one picture, a couple pages have a hole cut into it skillfully revealing an intriguing part of the next page, you cover one illustration with your hand, another page is shorter than the others and changes the image, you tilt the book, etc. — all of which makes for a lively and exciting reading experience.
Who Was That? is the third in a series of pictures books by Olivier Tallec. Tallec has written and illustrated some of my family’s favorite picture books: Louis I, King of the Sheep, Waterloo and Trafalgar, and the Big Wolf & Little Wolf picture books to name a few. His books are consistently gorgeous and eloquent with insight and wit imbued into each page. Many of his picture books are also available in French and German. They’re all excellent and I highly recommend them.
Who Was That? will make you observe, learn, and laugh. I hope you get a chance to read and experience it. It’s truly fantastic. We love this book!
Recommended Ages 3 to 7. Chronicle Books. March 2018. 32 pages. ISBN: 9781452169903
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Where Obtained: I received a review copy from the publisher. No other compensation was received. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit. It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”