Saturday, January 30, 2021

Review - Who Done It?

Who Done It?

by Olivier Tallec
Date: 2014
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

In this charming ebook, each page asks the reader a question about the lineup of characters featured on the spread. Sharp eyes and keen observation are necessary. There's only one right answer, and it's not always easy! Kids will love learning early concepts like expressions and positions as a natural consequence of their hunt for clues in the details of the lineup. Plus, this is a fixed-format version of the book, which looks nearly identical to the print version.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

With a title that will make grammar nerds flush in indignance, Who Done It? is a simple picture book that aims to teach kids about picking out details, facial expressions, and emotional intent. Does it work? Sort of.

If you view it in the simplest way possible, there is only one answer for each question, as the book claims. But some of the questions could be interpreted differently, resulting in multiple answers. (For example, one of the questions is, "Who couldn't hold it?" The obvious answer is the grinning creature standing in a yellow puddle. But what about the standoffish-looking girl who's holding a purse strategically over her pants? Another question asks, "Who is nervous?" Out of the ten characters, eight of them look like they could be nervous with their wide eyes and terrified expressions. Only one of them is trembling—they're the right answer, of course—but I wouldn't consider it wrong if a child said any of the other seven were nervous.)

I kind of wish that the "one right answer" thing had just been left out. Many of these questions have answers open to interpretation, and telling kids they're wrong when they might just have a more sophisticated and nuanced view seems counterproductive.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 3/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 2.83 out of 5

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