Where’s Spot? – Eric Hill

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story: 2 points. Simple but effective.
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

Where’s Spot is the original “lift the flap” book. Created originally as a fun activity for his son, Christopher (seems like authors love to name their kids Christopher, huh?), Eric Hill had no intention initially to publish it, but once it became apparent how much his kid loved it, he did, starting a whole genre of interactive picture books.

And it stands the test of time, too. It’s incredibly simple – a dog is looking for its puppy because it is dinner time. Under each flap is a strange animal (apparently this home is a menagerie), and (SPOILERS!) Spot is eventually found in a basket. The pictures are bold and colourful and lovely. The animals are wonderfully depicted. It has charm and humour, and, as anyone who has ever read a “lift the flap” with a child knows, the interactivity is a delight.

There are no explicitly female characters, though I suppose there is some implication that the parent dog is a mother. It’s never stated though. And, of course, since all the characters are animals, there’s no explicit diversity either. Having said that, the book has one foot in fantasy, and therefore isn’t obviously depicting a particular worldview, grand pianos and wardrobes notwithstanding. Still, there isn’t anything to warrant giving the book those points.

I’m giving it a point for interactivity though, because I’m a big believer that interactivity in kids’ books encourages active reading, and that’s always a good thing. And of course we both had fun reading it, so it gets points for that too. 🙂

Not a high scorer, but still definitely recommended, especially for very little people.

What do you think? Are you a fan of the “lift the flap” approach? What’s your favourite?

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7 thoughts on “Where’s Spot? – Eric Hill

  1. I can actually remember this book, although I’m not sure from what age, and I liked it. Despite being a strong reader (age 6 – sneaking the books for the 10 year olds at reading time, age 10 – reading adult popular science books) then I absolutely loved any book with interactivity and creativity, anything that could be considered an “extra” beyond flat printing (words or pictures) on a page.

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    1. I think many kids like that! Hell, adults like it too. Books with secret compartments. Have you ever read the Gryphon and Sabine books? They’re a bit like that for grown-ups. Plus AMAZING art.

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      1. Yeah, that’s weird really isn’t it – no matter how much you might actually like reading, as soon as there’s something more it’s just really exciting.

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  2. What I like most about this book is my ability to buy it in multiple languages. It’s a great way for myself to practice reading in a foreign language, but I would imagine it is also a great way to introduce your child to new languages. I have it is Maori and Spanish so far!

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    1. That is a neat idea, actually. 🙂 I’m obviously looking at it from a very kid-focussed perspective, but using kids books to practice language is a great idea. I have in the past read YA Afrikaans books, because, given how rusty I am, that’s about where my ability lies. Also I love the idea of collecting the same book in multiple languages. 🙂

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