Recommended for readers 2-4
A haggard cat grooms itself into a stylish feline. Raw spaghetti becomes a tasty dinner. The eternal question of what comes first, chicken or egg, is answered. This is just a sampling of what awaits little hands in graphic designer Jean Julien’s second large format board book, Before & After.
Each spread depicts alternating “before” and “after” artwork; a page dedicated to the drawing and a page boldly declaring “before” or “after”. There are picture books standards – pasta becomes dinner, water pours into a glass – are more amusing, unexpected scenes, like the outcome of wearing sunglasses on a sunny day. A gatefold centerfold is a fun surprise for little lapsitters.
The brush and ink art is fun and boldly outlined, set against bright, digitally painted page backgrounds, and the pages themselves are sturdy, able to hold up to lots of use, which this book will surely experience. Kids can flip pages back and forth, fold and unfold, to their hearts’ content. It’s a great way to teach sequence. Before & After will join Jean Julien’s first board book, This is Not a Book (2016), in my storytime rotation.
See more of Jean Julien’s artwork at his website.