Look-Alikes, Jr. is best described as a visual feast. Although this book is targeted at younger children than its predecessor (Look-Alikes), older siblings and parents will enjoy it just as much. The premise behind these books is that they lead the reader into a land where things are not what they appear. For instance, a house might be constructed from a venetian blind, with a chimney of dog biscuit bricks, windows of tea bags, and a wallet for a front door. Each 2-page spread consists of a different three-dimensional scene created almost entirely from everyday objects used in unusual ways. A couplet gives one clue such as, The parlor's a cozy place to sit/In a chair that looks like an OVEN MITT, then it's up to the reader to discover the other look-alikes in the scene (there are between 48 and 94 in each). At the back of the book, Steiner offers tips on counting the look-alikes, suggests a game for older readers to play with a friend, and presents an extra challenge. She also Ã”solves' the puzzle by giving the reader all of the look-alikes in each scene with asterisks next to the most difficult to find items.
I perused the book several times with a four-year-old assistant. The preschooler loved the pictures and was excited at the prospect of finding familiar objects used in unexpected ways. I found myself swiftly counting items, trying to find at least 48 per visual before the page was turned. It must be reported that the extra puzzle was not solved in one reading. What makes Look-Alikes, Jr. fun for every age is that each scene can be viewed as challenging or clever, depending on its particular audience.
Steiner's first book, Look-Alikes, received numerous awards and was on best-seller lists for many months. All indications are that Look-Alikes Jr. will be equally successful, especially since it reaches out to a broader audience. What a great way to exercise the brain! Sarah Kim is a teacher and mother of a four-year-old.