Away We Go! A Shape-and-Seek Book by Chiêu Anh Urban
DC-area local Chiêu Anh Urban‘s second chunky children’s book is perhaps even more clever than her first. While Raindrops: A Shower of Colors offered a thoroughly kiddie-friendly lesson in color-making, Away We Go! is an entertaining game in learning shapes. Invitingly packaged in vivid hues, Urban makes early reading a full adventure: rather than a one-way exchange from page to audience, she encourages active participation beyond the obvious. And how …!!
The set up seems simple … but definitely not toooooo simple. Go ahead, open up and join in. In the top corner of the left page, Urban poses a question: “Do you see a square?” followed by the corresponding shape. On the left, the truck’s cargo space is represented by a square cut-out; on the right, the train’s body gets the same cut-out square. Easy, right?
Now turn the page: “Do you see a triangle?” Urban queries. But wait! On the left is an ice cream truck with the same square cut-out from the train on the previous page. Hey, that’s not a triangle! But the front windshield is triangular, as is the bottom of the ice cream cone emblem on the toothsome truck’s side! You’ll have to look to the right for the expected cut-out; it makes up one of the sails of the festive boat. Now turn again: “Do you see a heart?” And so the adventures go on – via spaceship, hot-air balloons, police cars, submarines, blimps, and more!
Every double-page spread is an adventure in the obvious and not-so-obvious. For the kiddies, that’s all grand fun … for us old folks, I can’t help thinking Urban is giving us a gentle reminder to pay close attention to all the hidden, oh-so-little-but-really-important stuff. God is in the details and all that, right? Oh, so very clever indeed!