Which Is Round? Which Is Bigger?
by Mineko Mamada
Translated by unknown from the Japanese
Published by U.S. edition: Kids Can Press, 2013
A seemingly simple concept book takes a sophisticated turn with every other flip of the page, encouraging young children’s critical thinking skills. “Which one is round?” The opening page spread poses this question about a round red apple, and a long-nosed, linear animal (an anteater, perhaps?). The answer is obvious. But with a turn of the page, the apple has been eaten and all that's left is the hour-glass shape of the core, while the animal is now curled up into a tight ball, asleep. "Which one is round? What do you think?" The rest of the book asks additional questions about a series of different pairings. Every time, a turn of the page repeats the original question about the pair, but transforms the appearance of one or both subjects. It changes the answer from one that is obvious to one that is open to interpretation, inviting children to consider more than one answer, and to articulate the reason behind their own response. Clean-lined, uncluttered design and art make the subjects of each pairing the visual focus of every spread. But it’s the juxtaposition of illustrations and inquiry that energize this creative offering. (MS) ©2013 Cooperative Children’s Book Center