Through Those Eyes: Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert
IF I COULD PUT ON A SUIT OF SCALES,
ADD SOME FINS AND ONE OF THESE TAILS,
I'D CLOSE MY EYES AND THEN I'D WISH
THAT I'D TURN INTO A BEAUTIFUL FISH.
In its abstract essence the shape of a fish is sinuous, sensual, and seductive, making us think it would be worth being a fish to be able to swim, seemingly effortlessly, like a fish, undulating through those deep blue waters .
The award-winning collage artist Lois Ehlert'a Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (Sandpiper, 2012) makes use of this quality in this new, large format edition, forthcoming just in time for preschool teachers to include it in their library of "big books" made for use with the early childhood education story circle. It is a counting book, sure, but oh, what a way to get to ten!
With a modest little pilot fish as our guide, Ehlert takes our eyes along on a stunning swim among a school of similar slender green and yellow fish as they meet various gorgeous denizens of the deep in ten double-page spreads that suggest, rather than delineate, well-known fishes of the sea--a toothy "barracuda," two "angelfish," leaping "salmon," and so on. Along the way, the enumerated fish, portrayed in Ehlert's signature collage style take us on to meet multicolored fish of many shapes, plus our little guide, which add up to the featured number.
As she often does, Ehlert makes adroit use of the die-cut technique by having the open circle of each fish's eye showing through a color featured in the fishes on the previous and following page. There are four striped fish, five spotted fish, and six fantailed fish, all in luminous colors set against a royal blue background, right up to the ten darting fish and onto a spread of plain brown fish, all sporting the eyes of the jewel colors of the adjacent pages. It is a novel counting experience expressed memorably in scrumptious artwork.
Great for preschoolers just learning to count and for art classes studying novel uses of collage, color and shape, Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012) is a dip in the deep that youngsters will want to take again and again.
Other notable concept books by Lois Ehlert include Planting a Rainbow, Waiting for Wings, Color Zoo, Snowballs, and Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z (Harcourt Brace Big Book).