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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Look: A tummy time book by Gavin Bishop

I’d forgotten how much time adults can spend gazing at babies until we recently visited friends and their new daughter. “Ooh,” we gasped, as we watched her doing tummy time, admiring her strong little neck and intense gaze. How she would love this book! Author and illustrator Gavin Bishop (Tainui, Ngāti Awa) lives and works in Christchurch and always knows what pēpi (and their whānau) will enjoy. This clever fold-out board book is really two books in one – a row of bold and colourful faces on one side of the accordion, and a series of familiar objects on the other.

Whoever is in your circle of family and friends, you and pēpi are bound to recognize one or more of the 11 faces that are featured – perhaps Nanny with the headscarf, the spiky-haired little boy next door, the puzzled Aunt or Uncle, Māmā or Aunty with the moko, or the wee pup. On the flip side are many of the objects babies first learn to identify – including a bird, keys, and a ball – and a few others that were a delightful surprise to me (such as the spectacles, the snail, and the eight-pointed star).

Publisher Gecko Press says that this book unfolds to nearly two metres. Fully extended it would be perfect for tummy time, and the pages can also be turned one-by-one during lap-time snuggles. As there are no words, there are opportunities to make up your own stories about each image, in your language of choice. One end-paper reproduces all the images in thumbnail size and matching the tiny images with their larger counterparts would be a fun game for toddlers.

“Look” would be an excellent gift for a newborn. It’s easy to wrap (and post), sturdy and colourful, and just the right size for little hands.

Reviewer: Anne Kerslake Hendricks

Gecko Books


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