Visible Wordplay: One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Caldecott Honor author/illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger's One Boy begins with
with a child's head and shoulders visible through a die-cut opening in the right-hand page. Turning the page, however, we see the ONE visible through the opening as part of a new caption,
But although we see the boy, with his backpack of art supplies, seated alone in the middle of three rows of chairs, this kid is definitely NOT alone. His mind is alive with images, which we see in the following pages which combine words, parts of those words, and parts of full-page images glimpsed through the die-cut openings.
AT THE SEA
HOLD THE KEY....
And as we work our way through the counting order up ten, we see
IN YOUR PANTS. ONE BOY
And as the boy exits page right, we see behind him that he has indeed not been alone, but in the good company of his ten paintings--of seals, apes, monkeys, mice, cars, candles and a birthday cake, brooms, and seeds sprouting into flowers, all neatly taped to the wall behind him.
An amazing picture book which works on several levels--as a simple counting book, as a verbal puzzle (as we guess what small word will reappear in the next double-page spread), a beginning reader, and a picture puzzle--this one is a work of art, a delicious little visual and intellectual play on words, a concept book, and an easy reader all rolled into one. It's another tour de force for Seeger, whose First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book and Theodore Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards)) took double honors at the 2008 ALA Awards ceremonies. Seeger's body of work, distinguished by such titles as Dog and Bear (Neal Porter Books) (Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner-Best Picture Book) (Awards)), Black? White! Day? Night! - A Book of Opposites (Ala Notable Children's Books (Awards)), (Neal Porter Books) and The Hidden Alphabet (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)) already puts her at the forefront of modern picture book art.