Who doesn’t enjoy playing Eye Spy, a simple game that can fill those blank moments? Here, it can be played within the pages of a book – a lovely picture book. Ruth Brown takes her young readers for a walk through the countryside across a day. Each double page spread provides the clue to guide the search of the accompanying image; turn the page and the answer is there – and then the next clue, the next puzzle. She does not make it completely easy – nor does she cheat. The reader is encouraged to really scrutinise the pictures. In so doing they will learn how brilliantly animals are able to camouflage themselves – and, maybe, be inspired to explore the world around with new eyes; to play eye spy for real.
Ruth Brown is a consummate artist. Her colour saturated images draw the reader in to experience the natural world she is depicting. The journey starts and ends with the wider landscape, then moves to details as we focus on the things nearest to us – the edge of the cornfield where the harvest mouse nests, the corner of the pond where the toad shelters, the toadstools under the bracken, resting place for the ladybird. While her vision is very much directed to the countryside, the concept of the hide-and-seek aspect of a walk would be easy to replicate in a more urban setting. It is a game that can be played anywhere. This is a book that could be shared – parent and child, teacher and group – or just provide the opportunity for intense exploration by an individual. The rich visual experience that encourages the viewer to not just look for the hidden but to be aware of the surroundings combines with a simple direct text describing the hidden animal ending with a rhyme. The production is excellent with clear attractive font and well-placed images; a book to really enjoy.