Look by Gabi Snyder

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The picture book Look by Gabi Snyder (illustrated by Samantha Cotterill; Paula Wiseman, 2024) is a work of art. Illustrated with photographs of hand-made three-dimensional collage sets, Look gives a visual exploration of patterns along with text that encourages the young reader to “look” around for details. The text and art seamlessly harmonize.

A red-haired boy stars in the illustrated story, first as he wakes for breakfast and then as he runs errands with his mother. The text speaks directly to the reader, asking questions such to help you remember to “look around, and get a closer view.” One of the first pages shows the boy going into the breakfast table,a nd it highlights the table setting and chair from two different angles, thus emphasizing the three-dimensional nature of the illustrator’s artwork. By showing different perspectives, different patterns are emphasized, including the floor’s pattern, the placemat, the top of the plate, the shadow from the chair’s back, and so forth.

Other pages show a yard, a visit to a flower nursery, a forest scene, a tide pool, and even a city scene. The shadows are lovely, the variety of patterns made it a delight to truly pour over. The familiar second-person voice made it a fun read-aloud too, since it asked us to consider different types of patterns, wondering if we could find them. Another page shows our boy protagonist jumping in a pattern, encouraging children to think outside of the box in terms of what makes a pattern: it doesn’t just have to be lines and circles in a two-dimension surface.

The variety of settings and page features, from the boats to the cars to the fungi on the forest floor, give a bright and unique feel on every page, even while the colors, words, and scenes all somehow coorelate nicely in a unified picture book. The last pattern is a bedtime reminder of “I love you,” while just underscores the sweet mother-son relationship illustrated throughout this unique and bright day. End matter mentions a few different patterns types, and another page gives parents or teachers pattern activity ideas.

I love the thought of using this book in a preschool setting to spur a pattern walk or multi-sensory pattern of our own. It’s a lovely reminder to stop to “smell the roses.”

Reviewed on July 10, 2024

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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