Monday 30 July 2012

I Can See Faces

I Can See Faces by Susan Pease, illustrated by Olivia Pease (Little Steps Publishing)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9780980723793
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Written to encourage children to dream and to encourage adults to release their inner child, the text begins by telling readers “Toby liked all types of faces.”  He sees them everywhere: on carpet, in his breakfast cereal and Vegemite jar, in trees, at the beach and in bubbles at bath time. Some faces, however, he does not like. Those he sees at bedtime “poke their tongues at him and peak from behind curtains”, causing him to hide under his doona.

Mum says, ‘They could be fairies.” However, like everyone else, she can never see them or any of the faces Toby sees. And there are many. Sad, mad, bold and brave, but mostly happy and smiley. Readers follow Toby while he points out faces to his mum, dad, sister, grandfather, dog, cat, fish and rubber duck.  Each time, a repeated refrain tells readers that “nobody else could see them”.

Thankfully Toby is still so young he never stops looking for and seeing faces everywhere. My favourites are those in the bubbles, the carpet and the coat stand. When readers learn that Toby’s favourite faces are those he sees in the clouds the page is turned to reveal that this seems to be universal, ending the story with the line “Guess what, everybody could see them all.”

The eleven-year-old illustrator uses a delightful blend of paint, crayon and collage to form a vivid variety of colourful scenes. Much thought has been put into bringing faces to life in everyday objects. Likewise, collage is cleverly used to represent items like trees, beach umbrellas, clothes, curtains and rugs. The end papers, differ between beginning and end, capturing the spirit of the story beautifully. Though suitable for 3-6 year olds the illustrations may well appeal to readers of any age.

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