Monday, November 28, 2011

Look Again! Treasure Ship (Can You See What I See) by Walter Wick


Walter Wick's latest in his photo puzzle series, Can You See What I See?: Treasure Ship: Picture Puzzles to Search and Solve (Candlewick, 2011) is another masterpiece of photography, a gorgeous example of the visual puzzle virtually created by Wick and his former rhymester partner Jean Mazollo, and an all-around bit of picture book fun for all ages.

In this one we first see a closeup of a gold coin, "The Coin of the Bountiful," in which the reader is given a list of items on the coin to spot. The second spread shows this coin along with a golden cup, suggesting that both are part of a treasure trove.

In succeeding layouts, the "camera" zooms out, revealing the cup and coin as part of a pirate's treasure chest, which is in turn revealed to part of a shipwreck, then as part of a deep underwater seascape, then as a detail in a ship in a bottle, and thence part of window display of toys, trinkets, and tchotchkes, which is in turn revealed to be part of a seaside souvenir store.

In a continuing wide-angle view, Wick shows that the store is a ship-shaped replica of good ship Bountiful itself, with a porch-side display of postcards, on one of which the whole scene is reproduced. The final zoom out is too delicious a surprise to spoil, but suffice it to say the whole book is a joyful exploration of incredible detail within the framework of a photographic essay on the power of point of view in art. Wick is a wonderful artistic technician, working with digital photographs, an incredible assembly of objects in all sizes, carefully constructed miniature and full-sized sets, all put together with the eye of a master book designer. "Readers" can spend hours on this book and not see it all. Too good to miss!

Publishers Weekly asserts, "The entrancing, detail-rich visuals and ingenious twist will likely stir readers' imaginations." And that's an understatement.

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