Saturday, September 08, 2012

Hitchin' A Ride: Bee & Bird by Craig Frazier

The more you see--the more you understand.

What begins as simple glowing shapes in bright yellow and shiny black stripes with an accent of red is NOT an abstract color-block painting. In reverse magnification accomplished with the turn of a page, the view we see (from a sky view) is that the picture is actually a bee hitchhiking a ride on the top of a red bird's head.

As we continue to zoom out, we see the two atop a field of green which upon further zoom becomes a small tree being transported in the bed of a yellow truck. When the truck stops to deliver its load, the hitchhikers shift to a black-and-white background, which zooms out to show them riding bareback on the wide back of a cow.

A patch of white surrounded by blue becomes the sail of a boat as the two hitch a ride across a pond, where bird and bee then bum a boost in the basket of a boy's bike, headed for--well, where would a bee be bound at the end of a busy day?

Craig Frazier's Bee & Bird (Roaring Brook, 2011) does not disappoint, as the final spread shows bars of color with an arc of black which zooms out to reveal--a symmetrical beehive, with Bird perched on top and Bee finding his day's destination as he buzzes into the hive.

Besides its obvious virtues of design, enticing eye-candy art, this book provides youngsters the opportunity to predict what each successive image will be when zoomed out--a sort of mental exercise in a novel wordless book with an old premise--that of finding the truth in a wider world view. As Kirkus Reviews tweets, "an interesting and urbane read."

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