Monday, 24 September 2012

Can You See Sassoon? by Sam Usher

Can You See Sassoon is like a Where’s Wally for little ones. I really enjoyed looking through it and trying to find Sassoon on each brightly coloured and incredibly busy page.

Sassoon is a funny-looking snake-like creature with red, yellow and blue stripes. But Sassoon likes to hide, and so what follows is a succession of different scenes from a picnic to a pile of presents, a washing line, a bookshelf, boats bobbing on the sea, and even outer space.

Although the pictures are very different from Martin Handford’s famous Where’s Wally - the items that fill the pages are larger and there is a significant lack of people - Sam Usher’s approach is similar to Handford’s in that each page is populated with a number items similar in colour and design to Sassoon that draw the eye, so that you have to eliminate Sassoon looky-likeys before you can be sure you’ve found the real one. What this also means is that there are tonnes of other things to look at in each illustration, so that every page becomes a veritable treasure trove for a child to stare at, and a parent to question them on. Can you find the robot? What do you think is wrapped up inside this box? Which animal is surfing?

I had particular trouble with the boating lake, which took several minutes of concentrated staring before I found Sassoon! The images are backed up with a little rhyming ditty, linking up the progress of Sassoon’s journey: “Where is he now? In outer space! He’s joined a whizzy rocket-race.” And there’s a surprise bonus on the final page, which finishes the book off really succinctly: a garden jungle in which all of Sassoon’s friends are hiding, complete with a pop-up page to pull out. Lovely. Lots of fun and great for building observational skills.

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