'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Monday, 21 March 2016

Review: Eye to Eye

Eye to Eye is everything you would expect from a Graeme Base book - eye-catching, imaginative and full of stunning artwork. It represents the freedom, courage and fearlessness of childhood, and reflects children’s longing to discover and examine their world closely.

A silhouette of the child narrator opens this slide-show of images. An eye appears. Whose eye? The following double spread shows a close-up of the majestic Bald Eagle as it soars through the sky. A miniature image of the boy in an early model plane hovers overhead. It sees what the eagle sees: snow-capped mountains, valleys, plains, and rivers etched in the landscape.

Another silhouette and another eye appear. It is the eye of a horse on which the boy is riding through a desert of red earth. Behind, Teddy clings to the boy’s back as his hat flies off into the air. Eroded rocks that resemble old ruins stand in the background. The horse’s hooves lift dry dust that settles on spiky grasses and dead logs; memories of life.

The boy’s silhouette is now near the ground. The eye is that of an ant. Ants on a log carry leaves to their nest. The boy joins their line. He and Teddy also carry a leaf. They become part of the line to experience the ants’ journey. This rhythm continues: the silhouette, the eye, and the double spread that depicts the boy becoming part of what he sees.

In the deep is a whale. A coloured chameleon on a branch sticks his tongue out. Within a protective MegaDriod suit the boy and Teddy battle a crab. Elephants in the forest surround the boy as baby elephants caress him and Teddy with their trunks. In the open sea, the two companions brave the winds in their ship to experience the power of a giant octopus. In his pyjamas, the boy climbs to the top of the world to come face-to-face with a snow leopard.

Then he faces the mirror and looks into the eyes of all his encounters.

There is a miniature picture of each animal referred to in the book with a list of important facts on each of them, including the human (but not Teddy). This fantastic book left me breathless with images that awoke my conscience to the relevant role all living things.

Title: Eye to Eye
Author/Illustrator: Graeme Base
Publisher: Penguin Random House, $26.99RRP
Publication Date: September 2015
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780670078592
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

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