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Friday, October 17, 2014

BEFORE AFTER, by Anne-Margot Ramstein & matthias Aregui. Candlewick Press, Random House. 2014. $23.00 ages 4 and up

"Everyone knows that a tiny acorn grows into a mighty oak and a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. But in this clever, visually enchanting volume, it's also true that a cow can result in both a bottle of milk and a painting of a cow, and an ape in the jungle may become an urban King Kong. No words are necessary... (from the back cover)"

There is not much to tell you about this new book from two French artists...but to say that I think it just beautiful, and thought-provoking, and that the words related to it will come fast and furiously from those who share it!

It is a study in two words only...before, and after. They are only shared on the front cover. The conversations that it will spark are sure to be countless and inspired. As you turn  from one digital image to the next, you will note their connections; you will be entertained; you will laugh; and you may even stop to carefully reflect on what is being presented to you and those who are looking at it with you.

What happens over time to pink spring blossoms that invite and welcome bees, and a bird looking to build a nest, to their tree? Could it be that tree grows larger leaves, its blossoms turn to apples, and the parent bird feeds its young fledglings a worm from one of those apples? It could be!

Not every pair (or more) of images conjures an easy answer. There are times when careful consideration must be given to the passing of time, and its results. The images are simply constructed to make it accessible for young readers, while also being inviting enough for older readers to take the time to investigate its many natural and seasonal changes.

There are few humans in sight. But, there are connections made that are sure to evoke talk about how they relate to familiar tales. It is not an ongoing story. The artists have just provided an invitation to talk and honor memories for the parents and children who share it.

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