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  • Kelsey Marie Paff

Guess Who is Behind the Door? A Counting Book in Four Languages by Susan Novich


To those who sent me board books to review in the past month or so, thank you! I'm still getting through a pile but will hopefully be caught up soon. I'd especially like to thank author and illustrator, Susan Novich for sending me a copy of Guess Who is Behind the Door: A Counting Book in 4 Languages. As a smiling porcupine goes about painting doors in vibrant colors, children will then see the number of animals behind each door and the English, Spanish, Chinese and French spellings and pronunciations of those numbers.

With cut-out illustrations that remind me of illustrations by Clare Beaton in How Big is a Pig? and Kelly Hill in Anne's Numbers, the one thing I found a bit distracting in Guess Who is Behind the Door is the font choice and size, and text placement. For example, the pages on the left side of the book have white backgrounds with a square illustration followed by bold text above and underneath the illustration, whereas the pages on the right do not have a white background (which I prefer), making those illustrations easier to see. To me, that difference between a white background verses a nonwhite background creates a bit of dissonance to the eye. Because Novich's cut-outs are really lovely, I wish the reader could see them better without feeling as though the white background and text overpowers the page. I almost wonder if making the board book slightly larger (it's approximately 5x5 inches) if that would have allowed Schiffer Kids more flexibility in the design layout.


In any case! I don't mean to get bogged down over design, it was just something I noticed. I really appreciate how warm-toned Novich made the illustrations and the bilingual aspect of the book really sets it apart from other counting board books. I would think that preschools and day cares would particularly enjoy having it on their shelves!


Enjoy!