Book Review: Out the Window by Cybèle Young
A few months back we received a letter from a friend inviting us to participate in a book chain similar to this one. The idea was that we send a book to 1 child and the letter to 6 friends; in return we would receive 36 books. That is a pretty good ROI so we gave it a try (evidently this is “illegal” but the USPS can use all the money it can get right now, right?). Does anyone want to guess how many books we received?
ONE! This one: Out the Window.
I was pretty excited as I tore open the packaging of the brand new book! (My thoughts on the construction and illustration below.) Judging by the cover it was about a gerbil/mouse/bear kind of animal and its ball. I sat down with Juniper and we began to flip through the pages.
I quickly realized that this was a (primarily) wordless book. Not only that, but it also was quite difficult to describe what was happening. The bear-gerbil bounces his ball too hard and it flies out an open window. He scurries over to see tops of objects pass by the window, struggling to fully see what is happening outside. He finally pulls over a chair and is able to peer out the window.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough “reading” the book up to this point it takes a whole new level of imagination to finish it out. The point of view shifts outside the window and you realize there is a parade passing by. A parade of the most unique and bizarre contraptions I have ever seen in a kids book. Objects and kinetic sculptures that are very hard to articulate make up the parade.
I have a weird love-hate relationship with this book. I love that it is so imaginative, but I hate that it is so hard to read. I think that it would be a great book for toddlers that can talk but not read. I’d love to hear their imagination describe to me what is going on, that would be both fascinating and entertaining. As a matter of fact, this book will live on our shelf until Juniper is old enough to read it to me!
This is an accordion style board book with a slip cover. It is really well made and the printing quality is fantastic. Overall this is one of my favorite books from a presentation and construction standpoint.
Beautiful and thoughtful is the best way to describe it. She uses negative space and white lines very effectively and in a way that makes the artwork unique. The color palette is neither boring nor overwhelming and works well with the copious amounts of white space. The only major flaw is the nondescript animal. What is it?
There are very few words throughout the book, but where they are used I was happy to see the use of hand lettering.
Number of Reader Voices:
1? 2? None? It is really up to you how you want to read this book. You could choose to be a narrator or read it from the animals perspective or just point out things and do no reading. It’s a very free-form book, a choose your own adventure style.