“What can this be in the foggy foggy forest?”
This is an original and enjoyable book by the prolific Nick Sharratt It has no real plot, but the word play and interesting use of shadows in the illustrations give you plenty to think about. It’s a rhyming question and answer format, and with each page turn you discover the answer to ‘what can this be?’
So far, so straightforward, but the illustrations are in varying shades of grey, giving the reader the chance to get what will be revealed in colour on the next page. Even more cleverly, the shadow of the next character can be dimly seen behind the darker shadow in front. So if you look at the image above, on the right you can see the dark shape of “three brown bears in picnic chairs”. Behind it, if you look above Baby Bear’s head, you can just about make out the dress of the “fairy queen on a trampoline”, and behind that you can see the curl of the unicorn’s (French) horn. Just like the way objects move mysteriously out of dense fog. Clever, eh?
This is also a fun book from a linguistic perspective. All children love silly rhymes, and there are some great and original ones in here, my personal favourite being the “ogre doing yoga”.
I’m not the only one who liked this book, as it won a number of awards in 2009 and 2010. If I have a criticism it’s that once you have enjoyed the gimmick and the words there is not much left to it; it’s a great book to borrow from the library but I can’t see it sustaining interest long-term. It’s therefore probably better, as a purchase at least, for younger children.
Overall though a very clever premise and an enjoyable read.